Empellon TaqueriaThere were tacos. And more tacos. Tacos made from duck and beef, pork, lamb, short rib pastrami and reindeer and elephant trunk. Ok, those last two are fake, but I was up to my nuts in tacos. But before the tacos even came out, we had this wacky appetizer called chicharrones. Myself, I stay the hell away from the swine, but I almost had to taste what are essentially fancy-pants pork rinds. Like these weird foam peanut, puffy heart attack wantons that smelled of bacon grease and death. Totally weird, though my cohorts seemed to like the way they popped and crackled in their mouths. I seem to recall the guacamole being decent, as one would expect, and the tacos were variably decent and some were even damn good. The drinks, too, were a big hit. I went with the Lage’rita, which was the go-to for much of our group. It’s some wacky mixture of tequila, lime, agave and Dos XX beer. It doesn’t sound like it would work, but somehow it did. And it’ll flatten your ass. Now, I’ve said on many occasions (or written like a completely clueless asshole) that Mexican food shouldn’t even try to be gourmet. It’s like making diamond-studded flip-flops. What the hell is the point of making things overly complicated and bastardizing the original, when all people are looking for is casual, tasty peasant food? I grew up on the stuff in LA, and it was something that you could pick up cheap, it filled you up and left you happy that at least one of the three largest countries in North America actually has native cuisine that tastes like something. But my stance on this has softened over the years. Fancy Mexican food with crème fresh and pickled stuff and Kobe beef and whatnot. Why not? Because, ultimately, if the food tastes good, I suppose it doesn’t matter how much they Frankenstein the base cuisine and turn it into something it’s not. It helps to have it served in a pleasant, cozy environment like this one, and have good company, even though, at the end of the day paying that much for Mexican grub is always a shock to the system. [MF]


230 W 4th Street (near 7th Ave South)
212/367-0999
https://www.empellon.com/taqueria/


#tacobonanza

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