The place: Boqueria SoHo
The space: Barcelona’s hot
The place: Empellón Taqueria
The space: Wunderkind chef Alex Stupak may have retired from pastry-making, but stepping inside his Greenwich Village Mexican restaurant feels like sinking into a rich piece of cake. Bare chocolate-wood tables back creamy, whitewashed walls, while the psychedelic rose mural behind the bar makes for a decorative frosting.
The ingredient: The California influence comes across clearest in the almost endless types of salsa. Considered dipping sauces, they are imbued with a stunning array of flavors including smoked cashew, epazote, pumpkin seed, sundried tomato, and ultra-spicy habanera.
The special: Empellón’s tacos are the best place to taste Stupak’s vision. Start with the fish tempura with lime mayonnaise and the skirt steak with mojo de ajo sauce. If a mezcal fan, ask for the handmade Pierde Almas Mezcal at the bar – it’s made with rabbit.
230 West 4th St., 212-367-0999, empellon.com
(Photo courtesy of Empellón Taqueria)