NYC: Empellón Cocina: The Push Project: Part III (June 2013)
Authors: Victor and Maria
Restaurant: Empellón Cocina (Push Project III)
Chefs: Alex Stupak and Chris Cosentino
Date: June 28, 2013
We recently went to Part III of the Push Project, which was a collaboration between Alex Stupak and Chris Cosentino, the chef of Incanto in SF and the winner of Season 4 of Top Chef Master. Chef Cosentino is famous for offal, as he has believes in eating the whole animal—from head to tail.
The meal had some interesting flavor combinations and ingredients, but I thought most of the courses were delicious—which is what matters, right? On another note, the two diners next to us definitely did not look too happy with the courses haha. I feel like they were expecting something else and got… this meal (which consisted of courses where Stupak and Cosentino were trying to be more creative and add their own influence). Oh well!
“Lamb and Eggs”
Poached quail egg with lamb liver botargo
Maria: This turned out to be one of my favorites. I love super runny eggs and I liked the mint with the savory lamb liver.
Boccalone Ibérico Lardo
Strawberries, hazelnuts, and sorrel
Maria: The lardo was SO flavorful, earthy and nutty. And HOW cute are the strawberries? They helped a lot to cut through the richness of the fat.
Lobster, lobster roe, pistachios, and pistachio oil
Maria: While I love LOVE lobster and I thought the simple preparation here really let the sweet lobster meat shine, the star her was really the tripe. It was meaty and chewy without being too rubbery and unlike any tripe I’ve had before. This was a lot like a ceviche.
In “crazy water”
Victor: According to our server, fishermen in Italy would cook fish in seawater and tomato juice, and the chefs wanted to simulate that by cooking it in tomato juice, brine from olive oil, and seasoning.
Maria: These tomatoes were bursting with flavor and sweetness! I think this is what tomatoes are supposed to taste like. I didn’t like the fish as much, it had a very strong fishy taste which I thought might have worked better as a cooked piece of fish.
Rhode Island clam chowder
Maria: This dish was a good rendering of clam chowder suited for a hot summer day. It was lighter and not as rich. The sweetbreads were delicious, but I think both and sweetbreads and the bacon on top could have been a little crispier–maybe my mistake for not eating them first.
Chorizo, peas, and egg yolk
Maria: The pasta in this dish was so good! It was so thick and chewy, it was almost like a gnocchi.
Best Parts of the Duck Pozole
Duck tongue chicharrónes
Maria: Hahaha. Victor and I agreed, we had no idea what we were eating in this dish. I’m guessing duck hearts and some other duck organ. This dish had more Mexican flavors in the sauce. Up until this point, I had forgotten that we were at Mexican restaurant so that was nice!
Oxtail à la Jean Louis
Foie gras, summer truffles, and bone marrow jus
Maria: Ah the pièce de résistance…Foie gras SO good. The crush around the oxtail was super thick and crunchy (which was a good textural break from the creamy foie gras and so soft oxtail). SUCH a good climax to the meal!
Warm Bay Leaf Panna Cotta
Cherries and cherry pit sorbet
Maria: Panna cotta is a dessert I like a lot because its not SO sweet so I was happy with this dessert. Cherry flavored robitussin has kept be from ordering anything cherry flavored in a while, so this was a fantastic re-introduction to cherries!