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Posted by Food lover on 12/01/2011
Food was absolutely amazing. Vibe was great. Service was very on point. Very hospitable staff and very polite. They sat us on time on a very busy Friday night. Ordered almost the entire menu. Food was very fresh and creative. Incredible flavors! I will be back soon!
Posted by jt on 09/27/2011
Not sure what they think the words "service" or "experience" means, but, after arriving to a completely empty restaurant for a 6:30 reservation for 4 people, we were all held at the front desk for over 15 minutes before they would take us to a table! We were then led passed a room full of empty tables to another empty section of the restaurant in the back and placed at a table nearest the kitchen. I promise we aren't scarey-looking creatures, but, that was how that made one feel! The waitress that came over seemed annoyed we were there and had such little enthusiasm that it was clear this was not meant to be a fun dining experience. The food was fine, but not great, but I would never recommend it. A perfect example of what could be a good restaurant but when managed by inexperienced, unenthusiastic people, becomes a bomb! I give it less than a year...
Posted by Anonymous on 08/07/2011
While they didn't change the space much from Chow Bar, the food is definitely a pleasant surprise. The home-made chips served with guac and two delicious salsas are a great way to start the meal. The octopus appetizer was fantastic and while the scallop tacos were a little cumbersome, the lamb and steak tacos were perfect. Desserts were right on point and I'll definitely be back. Service was great...present but not pushy.
Posted by jc03888 on 06/29/2011
If you're looking for a Mexican dinner, this probably isn't the place. The entire menu consists of items that would be on the value menu at a fast food chain--soft tacos, empanadas, and chili con queso. Of course, they are called by different names, but the result is the same. The flavors are good, but you leave feeling like you've only eaten an appetizer or a bar snack. Nothing is plated like an entree, sides cost extra. Sauces are non-existent. The "mariscos" appetizers, although flavorful, are served so cold that you'd swear they'd just been defrosted, and in a cereal bowl with a spoon. (Really?) I loved the room and the energy, but this food is too casual for this location and the room's vibe. I love Mexican food and wanted to love this restaurant, but sadly it falls short, and I won't be back.
Posted by Anonymous former critic on 05/09/2011
I live in the neighborhood and have been to Empellon for dinner and brunch (both times w/ large parties). Despite my preconceptions that Empellon would be yet another West Village overpriced, snooty pseudo-restaurant, to my pleasant suprise it most certainly is not. Excellent, excellent service. Hostesses and waitstaff were super attentive and very nice (none of the Waverly Inn attitude I've grown accustomed to in my neighborhood). Food was also delicious (and at times nice and spicy). (I don't even like guacamole and I ate an entire plat of it at Empellon.) I've been to Mexcio several times (four times this year alone), and the food reminded me of some of my favorite dishes there, but with a decidedly modern twist. Cocktails are dangerously delicious as well. Not sure why that kid from Columbia U. wrote such a scathing review - I imagine he has some sort of chip on his shoulder. I was a food critic while at Columbia, and if I were still I would write a very glowing reivew of Empellon.
Posted by HannahB on 05/06/2011
I stopped in last night after reading a review of this place on Time Out. It was almost empty at 5:30, just some suits drinking at the bar. The first thing that struck me was how cold the place felt, lots of hard surfaces, black and white, hard tables and chairs, hard tile floor, the only color was a mural behind the bar. The menu is very small and pricey. I had the green bean salad, which was delicious, and the beer braised tongue tacos, also very good, and a cocktail. Portions were modest. I didn't have the service problems others mentioned, but as I said, the place was nearly empty when I got there. The entire bill for one person, not including tip, was $44, which seems incredibly expensive to me for the food on offer. Yes, it was very nicely put together, but come on. It seems like the antithesis of a West Village restaurant; cold and overpriced, and the clientele was mostly yuppies attracted by the buzz. With all the really good reasonably priced Mexican places out there, I don't see any need to go here. I don't know why Time Out gave it a such a good review.
Posted by LT on 04/28/2011
There seems to be a plethera of Mexican restaurants in the West Village...I've been to a vast majority of them....Last night I was on my way to Mole, and passed Empellon. It's new, and looked as though it had a good crowd, so my friend and I decided to give it a shot. Two words - NOT GOOD. We ordered the white tuna app from the very limited menu and it was so fishy that we had to send it back. I haven't sent anything back in, well actually I don't if I've ever sent anything back. The tacos were "eh", the service slow and prices excessive considering the size and quantity. This place will last a year, max.