What could be bad about that combination? Well maybe some things, especially at Empellon. The tequila selection was impressive and the tacos were pretty solid, but I've had better fish tacos for sure. In this case, the tongue tacos were where it's at. If you are afraid to try tongue…um…get over it? It's good and it doesn't arrive like a giant tongue on your plate. Well, not here it doesn't at least. It's got a slightly sweet flavor and when done right it's very tender.
The guacamole was DEFINITELY not made fresh, which was surprising; it had oxidized somewhat, since I noticed a bunch of brown spots on it, but that doesn't affect the taste too much fortunately. Oxidation is what happens when it sits out for too long and is exposed to oxygen (who says you can't learn anything from my blog?), resulting in the brown spots. Avocados are notorious for this and it can easily be prevented by the addition of citric juices like lemon and lime, which also happen to be prevalent ingredients in guacamole. So they lose some points there, because that really shouldn't happen at a nice, new restaurant in the heart of the West Village. Put some extra lime juice and you're fine. No comprende. The other sauces they served with the guacamole were tasty though, a smoked cashew sauce and a chili arbol – one was smoky and sweet, the other was spicy. The chips were very good too – thick, golden, and crispy. Perfect for dipping.
Queso fundido time! Or in English..melted cheese. It sounds so much more exuberant in Spanish though, doesn't it? Normally I see cotija cheese, queso fresco, pepperjack…but Empellon puts their twist on it with goat cheese fundido and chedder/bacon. If you know me at ALL, you know what I got here..BACON. 'Nuff said. We devoured that one pretty quickly. I know it looks like broccoli in there, but that's actually "huazontles", a Mexican green similar to spinach or broccoli.
As I mentioned before, the beer-braised tongue was the winning taco here, with potatoes and chili salsa. I got the fish tempura tacos which I would normally love, but these were less than stellar. It was all very one-dimensional. I liked the lime mayo, but aside from that the other flavors just had no punch and blended together in a bland mixture of fish, cabbage, radishes and cilantro. Maybe the cilantro would have added something if I hadn't picked it off. You are NOT welcome here, cilantro. And I'm sorry but I have to point this out…tell me that fish doesn't look like something from the male anatomy…
I thought the majority of the food was good, but Empellon is still new and I think they need to work out some kinks. Get some citrus in that guac and don't serve phallic-shaped tacos with no flavor – if it's going to look like that, at LEAST have it be delicious.