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