Chicken and Green Chorizo Taco
Tender shredded chicken studded with herbacious green chorizo, it comes with a hot salsa verde and a drizzle of crema.
Baby Carrots with Radish, Cress, and Mole Poblano ($11)
It's only got four main ingredients, but the smoky mole poblano carries this salad of meaty and sweet roasted baby carrots with peppery cress and paper thin slices of radish. Wait a minute—cold mole poblano? Yep. And it works.
Octopus with Parsnip and Salsa Papanteca ($13)
Octopus is hot these days—it seems like every Asian and Spanish-inflected restaurant is carrying it to the point where "tender and smoky" just isn't good enough. Stupak's octopus is both of these things, but it takes a uniquely sweet twist with a salsa papanteca, made with chipotles, warm spices, and piloncillo, a type of raw sugar with a distinct slightly bitter molasses undertone. Chunks of barely-crunchy parsnip resemble the disks of octopus leg, making for a salad that surprises you with alternate bites of sweet, nutty parsnip or tender, briny octopus.
Short Rib Tamale
Insanely moist fresh masa with a sweet and savory short rib filling.
Sheeps Milk Ricotta with Picadillo ($11)
One of the three queso fundido, this one's got rich short rib with crunchy pinenuts and raisins topped with tasty but somewhat chalky sheep's milk ricotta. Scooped into corn tortillas, it starts out delicious, but with no brightness or acidity to cut through the fat, it quickly becomes heavy. You'll want to share this with a few people.
Meatball Sope with Tripe and Tinga Poblana ($10)
Unlike the tortillas, the sope shells are formed and fried in-house, and it shows: crisp, fresh, and tender, they're about as good as sope shells get. This one is stuffed with a warm-spiced stew of tripe with diminutive tender pork and beef meatballs flavored with adobo and bound with masa.
The tacos may be the draw at Empellón, but the sopes have consistently been the tastiest part of the menu.
Beer-Braised Tongue Tacos
Moist beef tongue with crisp, frayed edges and buttery fingerling potatoes served with a chile de arbol-based salsa and crumbled cotija.
Chicken, Lengua, and Al Pastor tacos
A trio of tacos, available by the piece after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, or three at a time (no mixing and matching) all hours.