105 1st Avenue,
Ironically, what you won’t find at this Mexican cocina is tacos. Chef Alex Stupak – who first defied convention when he left an all-star career in pastry – dares to explore the boundaries (or lack thereof) of Mexican cooking with Empellon Cocina. In lieu of your standard Mexican fare, think shrimp with masa and sea urchin mousse or roasted carrots with black radish and mole poblano. There’s a great smoked ricotta with three salsas, including a to-die-for chorizo raisin puree, and a great mezcal-cured ocean trout with cream cheese and roe. Save room for the arroz con leche with guava.
End With: Arroz con leche, coconut cake with prickly pear marshmallow.
Drink This: House margaritas, tequila and mezcals
Don’t Miss Dish: Tongue sopes with refried beans and salsa de arbol; gordita with smoked plantains, chorizo and egg yolk.
Occasion: Brunch, special occasion, Mexican outing, large groups
Bonus: Over a dozen types of mole; killer selection of tequilas and mezcals.