Daily, 24 hours
1 at 50th St.; C, E at 50th St.; N, Q, R at 49th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
42nd St. to 62nd St., Fifth Ave. to Twelfth Ave.
Socrates Nanas, who founded this restaurant with the owner of the Mama’s Empanadas chain in Queens, has a foolproof plan to feed the masses: big flavors in small packages. The menu of more than forty empanadas—stuffed and sealed wheat- or corn-based shells—is designed to hit a nostalgic nerve. Whatever flavors you like, you can expect them here, wrapped in a warm, yielding pocket: Greek (spinach pie), Cuban (ham, pork, and cheese), Polish (kielbasa and sauerkraut), Hawaiian (ham, cheese, and pineapple), Italian (sausage, peppers, and onions), American (cheeseburger). Though the three different doughs—fried wheat flour, fried corn flour, and baked wheat flour—taste equally neutral, the corn flour patty has a great crunch. Other small offerings include arepas, tamales, and veal and rice balls with Greek avgolemono, fork-tender meatballs in a lemon-based gravy. Dessert empanadas are worthy of a fancier establishment; the fig, caramel, and cheese patty mingles salty cheese with sweet figs and gooey caramel. The bright, industrial interior is as quirky and varied as the menu, with bold green walls, red accents, neon stools and banquettes, and brushed-steel tables. Empanadas aside, the something-for-everyone philosophy makes this Latin patty palace a distinctly American joint.Extra
Let’s not forget the bebidas. Mama’s Empanadas sells imported South American beers, sodas, and juices. They also offer ten types of fruit shakes, including guava, passionfruit, and the peachlike sour sap, made fresh with milk or water (milk is tastier).Recommended Dishes
Veal and rice balls, $5.45; chili and beef corn flour patty, $2.25; figs, caramel, and cheese wheat flour dessert patty, $2.65