Empellon Al Pastor review image

Empellón Al Pastor


132 St. Marks Place, New York
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

New York City has recently come a long way with regards to the taco. A couple of years ago, we were just on the hunt for a decent taco. These days, with the recent influx of new options like Los Tacos No. 1, Otto’s, Taqueria Diana and Tacos Morelos among others, the bar has been raised. Well, there’s another new addition taco enthusiasts need to get on their radars immediately. Empellón Al Pastor is the latest in unlikely Mexican EEEEEATS hero Alex Stupak’s stable of hot sauce jams.

Stupak is obsessed with the glorious taco named Al Pastor, which involves pork shoulder that’s been cooked on a spit, with some pineapple in the mix for good measure. There is no juicier, no more flavorful, no more satisfying taco in the world, in our opinion. At Empellón Al Pastor, they’re doing right by the spit.

The set up is great too: you order food at the counter on one end, and alcoholic beverages on the other. The place is actually really a bar more than anything, with 17 beers on tap, an entire menu worth of Micheladas, and more mezcal and tequila than you’ll know what to do with. They ship corn in from Mexico to make their own masa for corn tortillas on site, and no one in NYC makes better salsas than Stupak. They’re incredible. In addition to a pristine Al Pastor taco, the beef with caramelized onions is excellent as well.

New York will never be San Diego or LA or Austin or San Francisco or Mexico for that matter, but we’ve definitely got some legitimate taco options to choose from now, few of which are better than Empellón Al Pastor.

Sign up for our newsletter.

Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.

By signing up, I agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Food Rundown

Empellon Al Pastor review image

Al Pastor Taco

Up until now, the best one we’d had in Manhattan is up on E. 117th Street at Taco Mix, but they use store-bought flour tortillas, and corn tortillas make all the difference. This is a bite of wet, juicy, pornographic taco heaven right here. Our only complaint here is that the serving size is inconsistent. Al Pastor tacos are not meant to be overstuffed - they need to be just right. However, we’ve been upwards of six times now, and sometimes the amount of meat is way too skimpy.

Empellon Al Pastor review image

All The Other Tacos

Aside from the Al Pastor, The other two tacos we like a ton are the Beef and Caramelized Onions (pictured), and the Red Chile Pork. Good news for vegetarians, they have not one, but two options for you: mushroom and cactus. The chicken we wouldn’t necessarily order again, and the beef tongue/tripe combo is there for those who get down like that.

Empellon Al Pastor review image

Guacamole and Chips

Chunky, salty, creamy - it’s not as good as the pistachio guacamole they serve around the corner at Cocina, but it gets the job done. They make their own chips in house, which is nice, but they’re a little tough.

Empellon Al Pastor review image


The only large plate item on the menu is disappointing. They serve up a big beefy short rib, which is lacking in flavor and overall seasoning, and you can make your own tacos out of the meat. Cute, but not as delicious as it should be.

Featured in

Where To Go When An Ex Reaches Out guide image

Where To Go When An Ex Reaches Out

NYC Restaurants With New Takeout & Delivery Options guide image

NYC Restaurants With New Takeout & Delivery Options

Where To Eat Outside In The East Village guide image

Where To Eat Outside In The East Village

27 Restaurants With Takeout Windows & Seat-Yourself Tables guide image

27 Restaurants With Takeout Windows & Seat-Yourself Tables

Suggested Reading

Taqueria Diana review image
Taqueria Diana

This is not a taqueria. This is a temple to the holy Mission burrito. Pray before it, lest you be forsaken.

Taqueria St. Marks review image

Taqueria St. Mark’s is a good, divey spot for cheap Mexican food.

Ho Foods review image

Ho Foods is a small restaurant in the East Village that specializes in Taiwanese beef noodle soup.

Haile review image

Haile is a comfortable Ethiopian restaurant in the East Village.

Infatuation Logo
2023 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store