The Importance of Small Plates: Alex Stupak’s excellent Empellon Cocina has eliminated entrees (i.e. main courses) in favor of smaller shared plates and tacos. He’s done this before but looks like this time he’s sticking to his guns. As Stupak explained on Twitter: “our tacos seem to be what anchors us and besides they are more fun to work with than 6-8 ounces of clunky protein.” He says that he plans on “developing the middle of the menu and expanding it.”
And just to drive the point home, Stupak adds: “I can’t stand [entrees] so I’m never cooking them again.”  
Shared plates is the right move for a restaurant that’s as envelope-pushing as Empellon Cocina, with dishes like sea urchin guacamole or sweetbread sandwiches. If you don’t like a particular preparation (unlikely, b/c of the food is awesome), you just move onto the next dish, without having to commit to a larger portion. 
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We at The Bad Deal have always been fans of tapas-style dining in almost every scenario, as it gives diners more precise control over their economic and culinary experience. You want to spend or eat more? You order more. You want to spend or eat less? You order less. 
For everyday eating, this is a heck of a lot more fair to the guest than committing to a $58 strip steak “for one” or a $116 three-course prix-fixe. Then again, on the spendier side of the spectrum, we believe that individual small plates (one-to-three bites) are also the reason that long tasting menus work so well. Sure there’s less choice and a greater financial commitment, but if a particular course don’t work, you still have 20-24 other shots at success. Or put more bluntly, long tastings, like small plates, encourages chefs to take risks they can’t commit to with a three-course menu.  
We also hope Empellon’s move helps divorce all of us from the silly notion of a traditional entree, where every guest orders (or ever worse, asserts ownership over) a large protein or pasta. So we’re calling this move by Alex Stupak a GOOD DEAL and a STRONG BUY.
Incidentally, all of Empellon’s dishes are $19 or under. 
ryansutton:

Empellon Cocina: Shortrib pastramic tacos with pickled cabbage and mustard seed salsa. Analysis: not enough pepper to qualify as pastrami, but still, a heck of a lot of flavor, so my criticism is only a taxonomic one. It’s a corned beef taco and it’s bangin. Cost: $16 for two tacos. Rating: BUY. Check out the menu.

The Importance of Small Plates: Alex Stupak’s excellent Empellon Cocina has eliminated entrees (i.e. main courses) in favor of smaller shared plates and tacos. He’s done this before but looks like this time he’s sticking to his guns. As Stupak explained on Twitter: “our tacos seem to be what anchors us and besides they are more fun to work with than 6-8 ounces of clunky protein.” He says that he plans on “developing the middle of the menu and expanding it.”

And just to drive the point home, Stupak adds: “I can’t stand [entrees] so I’m never cooking them again.”  

Shared plates is the right move for a restaurant that’s as envelope-pushing as Empellon Cocina, with dishes like sea urchin guacamole or sweetbread sandwiches. If you don’t like a particular preparation (unlikely, b/c of the food is awesome), you just move onto the next dish, without having to commit to a larger portion. 

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ryansutton:

I photograph Carlo Mirarchi grating zest over his nduja raviolo at Blanca in Brooklyn. The spicy, porky course is a study in luxury via perfection and portion control; you only get one bite, baby. If the fancy, French-y black truffle explosion at Chicago’s Alinea (also one bite) had a humble Italian analogue, it would be this. Those who wish to make reservations for the $180 tasting can do so on Tuesday, 2 January 2013, starting at 9:00am, by calling 646.703.2715. 

Just a friendly BAD DEAL reminder that Blanca in Bushwick will be taking reservations for the month of January tomorrow morning. We reblog the above shot from our original photo tumblr, “Ryan Sutton is 3.0.” We hope you follow, despite the moderately obnoxious name!

ryansutton:

I photograph Carlo Mirarchi grating zest over his nduja raviolo at Blanca in Brooklyn. The spicy, porky course is a study in luxury via perfection and portion control; you only get one bite, baby. If the fancy, French-y black truffle explosion at Chicago’s Alinea (also one bite) had a humble Italian analogue, it would be this. Those who wish to make reservations for the $180 tasting can do so on Tuesday, 2 January 2013, starting at 9:00am, by calling 646.703.2715. 

Just a friendly BAD DEAL reminder that Blanca in Bushwick will be taking reservations for the month of January tomorrow morning. We reblog the above shot from our original photo tumblr, “Ryan Sutton is 3.0.” We hope you follow, despite the moderately obnoxious name!

DEAREST BAD DEALERS: Hope y’all don’t mind me giving a shout out to my hometown of Long Beach, which was hit hard during Superstorm Sandy.
Residents are starting to move back as electricity and sewage returns, but many restaurants and businesses remain closed. And many homes (including ours) are still without heat or hot water. I’ve been documenting the devastation and recovery on my photo Tumblr, which I’ve reblogged here, and which I humbly invite you to read. 
Above is a photo of Shines, an Irish Bar on Beech Street that’s become a community center of sorts following the storm. It’s a place where Long Beachers go to charge their phones, to get a hot meal, to order a stiff drink. “Bruised, but not broken.” Indeed. 

DEAREST BAD DEALERS: Hope y’all don’t mind me giving a shout out to my hometown of Long Beach, which was hit hard during Superstorm Sandy.

Residents are starting to move back as electricity and sewage returns, but many restaurants and businesses remain closed. And many homes (including ours) are still without heat or hot water. I’ve been documenting the devastation and recovery on my photo Tumblr, which I’ve reblogged here, and which I humbly invite you to read. 

Above is a photo of Shines, an Irish Bar on Beech Street that’s become a community center of sorts following the storm. It’s a place where Long Beachers go to charge their phones, to get a hot meal, to order a stiff drink. “Bruised, but not broken.” Indeed. 

Sometimes I like to take photos. Mostly, they’re about food. But sometimes they’re not. Either way, they’re rarely relevant to The Bad Deal or The Price Hike. So I decided to start another Tumblr. The decision was easy. 
So please give a warm welcome to “RYAN SUTTON IS 3.0”, the third most excellent member of the QualityRye family of websites. Sometimes there will be videos. And sometimes there will be short essays about restaurants. But mostly, this Tumblr will be a repository for my food photography. And non-food photography. I hope you think it’s a GOOD DEAL. 

Sometimes I like to take photos. Mostly, they’re about food. But sometimes they’re not. Either way, they’re rarely relevant to The Bad Deal or The Price Hike. So I decided to start another Tumblr. The decision was easy. 

So please give a warm welcome to “RYAN SUTTON IS 3.0”, the third most excellent member of the QualityRye family of websites. Sometimes there will be videos. And sometimes there will be short essays about restaurants. But mostly, this Tumblr will be a repository for my food photography. And non-food photography. I hope you think it’s a GOOD DEAL.