The corn for the masa has been nixtamalized, the tortilla machine is cranking out the tortillas, and the giant pork trompo is spinning. Yes, it’s true. Alex Stupak has flung open the doors to Empellón al Pastor, his so-called bar-tortilleria in the East Village, and now the two questions on everyone’s mind await their answers: Is taco eating all about context, as Stupak’s Theory of Tacotivity states? And do tacos taste better served on paper plates in a bar-tortilleria than they do on fancy china in a well-appointed restaurant? Well, for Stupak’s sake, let’s hope so. “We’ve named it Empellón al Pastor because I’m not giving myself an out,” says the chef. “We have to master this taco. If we fail at everything else in this restaurant, we have to get this one thing right. I’ve never been more terrified.” Take a look at Empellón al Pastor’s raison d’être and the space, straight ahead.
The main attraction. Photo: Melissa Hom