Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

EMPELLÓN AL PASTOR, 123 St Marks Place (at Avenue A), East Village

I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. When Empellón al Pastor announced they were re-thinking their menu and it would now include a cheeseburger taco, I assumed they had jumped the shark. What started as a great bar for excellent authentic tacos was now doing a seemingly gimmicky taco itieration. I was worried.

But since my Cocktail tour starts just across the street, I decided to give these cheesy sounding tacos a try. And I was incredibly surprised just how good they were.

Turns out Alex Stupak (the American chef who is the brains behind Empellón) is actually on to something with the cheeseburger tacos. And after some research, I discovered that he encountered this surprising combination in Mexico City of all places. So maybe this is more authentic than I realize.

Cheeseburger Tacos at EMPELLÓN AL PASTOR

The $7 price tag was a bit off-putting for tacos, but the order includes two twin tortillas smothered with cheese, chopped meat, and sauces. I was actually just looking for a snack before my tour so only wanted one taco, but these were so good that I easily downed the set.

Seared burger meat is boldly seasoned and glistens with gooey Chihuahua chesee. A ripe tomato slice, fresh avocado, and some mayonnaise and ketchup complete the composition. It actually does taste like a cheeseburger in taco form. And it’s amazingly greasy, cheesy, and a total guilty pleasure.

The al pastor taco and other Mexican specialities remain on the menu, but if the other new additions (short rib tacos and nachos) are nearly as good as the cheeseburger tacos, I’m glad to say goodbye to the old and hello to the new. I’m a true believer in cheeseburger tacos. And you should be too. Price: $7

EMPELLÓN AL PASTOR
132 St. Marks Place (at Avenue A),
East Village
(646) 833-7039
empellon.com/al-pastor
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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