Your First Look at Nuchas’ Gourmet Empanadas

Gourmet empanada vendor Nuchas is the latest of the Times Square Alliance kiosks to open, joining Salume and Snack Box in the pedestrian areas of Times Square. The good news for Midtown Lunchers is that every item on the menu is just $3. The bad news is, because of their smaller size, you’ll definitely need at least three empanadas for lunch.

The menu offers six varieties, four with meat and two vegetarian options: Argentine (traditional mix of ground beef, onions, peppers and scallion), Short Rib (slow-braised beef in a Malbec reduction, in rosemary spiced dough), Spicy Chicken (chipotle, tomatoes, onions, peppers and fresh herbs in paprika dough), Pulled Pork Shoulder in rosemary spiced dough, Porto (portobello mushrooms, spinach and mozzarella cheese in a spinach dough) and Spicy Cheese (assorted cheeses, roasted peppers and caramelized onion in a white parmesan dough).

To stay within the ML budget, I chose three: spicy cheese, short rib and Argentine. If you look closely at the corner of the empanadas, you’ll find little letters in the dough indicating your order, which is super clever, but not original. Luckily, that is where any similarity to Empanada Joe’s ends.

Midtown Lunch’er labrill checked out Nuchas’ opening also and reported the following:

So the empanadas are good! They’re a little on the small side, just so you know, and the dough is more delicate and flaky than other empanadas I’ve tried in the city, which is the best thing about them. I got the 2 veggie kinds: porto(spinach/portobello/mozzarella) and spicy cheese(assorted cheeses/caramelized onions). The cheese was the better one–you could really taste the onions–and it was unabashedly spicy. The spinach filling was good but kind of soupy, like a creamed spinach with a bit of mushroom.

On that recommendation, I skipped right past the Porto and tried the Spicy Cheese. The dough was nice and delicate, and the spicy cheese had actual heat to it. In the back of my mind, I’m always afraid that something filled with cheese will taste very one-note (not that I don’t love things filled with cheese!), but the spice in these put those fears to bed.

The short rib empanada was much heartier than the cheese version. At first bite, I was happily surprised that they did not skimp on the meat, which was juicy and tender. These were generously filled, and if you’re a short rib fan, these will be sure to please you.

The Argentine was the most traditional of the lot, filled with ground beef and veggies. I felt a little of that the soupy quality Midtown Lunch’er labrill experienced in the Porto in this empanada, as it was the wettest one of my order. Flavor-wise, it was very good, but texturally, I preferred the short rib.

The one aspect I felt was missing from the meal was a side of green sauce, like the one Empanada Mama offers with their food. Not that any of Nuchas’ empanadas necessarily needed it, but if you are also an Empanada Mama fan, you may find yourself wishing for some of that fresh herby taste.

Nuchas also serves breakfast, offering several kinds of sweet pastries ($3 each), which are delicious, but small. At first I couldn’t imagine paying that much for breakfast; however, I just learned they are now doing all baking on the premises, and there is definitely something to be said for fresh, warm pastry first thing in the morning.

Nuchas, Broadway btwn 44th-45th Streets in Times Square

9 Comments

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    That shortrib empanada looks tasty. Makes me wish this were closer to my work. Also makes me wish Barros Luco hadn’t closed. Are there any decent empanadas in the 50′s?

  • Wow, thanks. That looks amazing. However, that giant poster of what appears to be mud covered hands holding an empanada is a little unappetizing.

  • Shortrib was SO delish I was sad I didn’t get 2! Pulled pork was also interesting as I was sorta expecting something BBQ-y but instead it was herbs and spices with a hint of orange. Very tastey. The cheese one was a bit disappointing. Maybe mine needed to be warmer so it oozed a bit more. The peppers were very overwhelming and the cheese it self didn’t get a chance to come through. My experience was overall quite positive and I’ll be returning again soon!

  • They mentioned they’d have a foursquare deal this week. I haven’t seen it yet though!

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Are all empanadas served by the reanimated hands of red corpses?

  • Tried the shortrib and the pulled pork, very delicious, but i must say, the size just kills it. After having empanadas from the random empanada carts on Myrtle Ave on the qns/bkln border, the size of nuchas just doesnt cut it.

  • The short rib looks great.
    $3 isn’t bad if the empanadas are sizeable and tasty. Hope to be full by eating 3 though. :P

  • Tried it today and feel like an ass that I forked over $3 for a miniscule empanada.

    Coming from Queens, I can’t help but think an empanada that small shouldn’t be more than a buck. Two if big or outrageous.

    But it isn’t big. The filling was awesome, but the crust was burnt and not flaky at all.

    :-(

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