Empellón Tacqueria is the Mexican restaurant run by former WD-50 and Alinea Pastry Chef Alex Stupak and his wife Lauren Resler. He runs the savory kitchen, while she handles the pastry side. When it opened last year, Stupak and Resler’s approach was to make tacos and more. Since that time, the restaurant has focused more on that style of Mexican cooking with a more adventurous and high end concept in the works for a sister restaurant. I had the opportunity to try Empellón when it first opened, but I hadn’t been able to make it back until recently, when my wife and I stopped in for a Sunday brunch before heading back home, Upstate.
The restaurant was still a bit sleepy when we showed up shortly after its 11AM opening time. Neither Chefs Stupak nor Resler were in at that point. I wasn’t surprised given the restaurant’s late hours. My wife and I were seated at a window table and proceeded to order our meal.We started with guac and chips. The tortilla chips were warm and crispy with enough salt to enliven them. Sides salsas of smoked cashew and salsa de arbol elevated an already good guac to an unusually good chips and dip. The combination of all three salsas and the chips got our appetites cooking. My wife ordered the Sope ranchero with a sunnyside egg. The sope, made from thick masa had been brushed with refried beans. The egg with salsa and crumbled cheese was draped over it, completing a tasty and warming day-starter. I usually wind up preferring what my wife orders over what I order, but while I liked my wife’s sope, I loved my chilaquiles with roasted maitake mushrooms, a sunnyside egg and added skirt steak. The tortillas in the chilaquiles had been cut into small, even sized strips and soaked in the salsa, but not so much that they lost an underlying crispness. The texture of this dish was as fantastic as the flavors. This was hearty and thoroughly enjoyable. I made the right choice for myself.
As we had a three hour drive ahead of us, we resisted the temptation to order more. As it was, we were fully satisfied. I’m looking forward to my return at Empellón Tacqueria, but even more to the upcoming Empellón Cocina.