New York

From a former wd-50 pastry chef who felt trapped by the resto's out-of-the-box format, Emp's kicking out inspired Mexican eats from beer-braised lingua tacos to short rib & marrow sopes, plus next level cocktails including a program doling by-the-ounce pairings of tequila and sangrita (an adobo'd spicy tomato chaser). Digswise, a white-washed brick wall provides a common thread through the chandelier'd, brasserie-styled dining room, and a more casual front area, whose reflective black-top bar's backed by a swirling red mural, which probably cost, like, a vermillion dollars.