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are these the best empanadas in brooklyn?

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Last year, I was lucky enough to live in Buenos Aires, and ate great quantities of empanadas while there. But since I've been back in New York, I haven't been able to find empanadas like the ones -- baked until the dough is golden and russet; dough that is thin, supple, buttery; spiced but not spicy; great empanadas are sort of the perfect combo of delicate and robust, and you can eat them with your hands.

I've had the empanadas at reuben's in manhattan (thumbs down -- bland gummy fillings, too-thick dough); at a place on steinway street (papa's empanadas?) in astoria (though tasty, they were not the empanadas of my dreams -- a little too greasy); and at the corner store on s4 and bedford here in williamsburg (again, tasty, but fried, not baked).

Labor day, I stopped in with my boyfriend at Tipico, which is a paraguayan cafe on s1 between driggs and roebling. The waitress told us that the empanadas were fresh out of the oven, so we ordered two. As soon as I saw them, my heart leapt with joy! They looked so perfect -- the right size (not too big), browned on the top, and with a golden braid of dough. They were beef empanadas, with egg and a few sparse golden sultanas mixed into the filling. The spicing was excellent -- complex and savory. And the dough was as good as it looked.

When we were leaving, we discovered the secret: the owner's mom was doing the cooking. Though she's paraguayan (I suppose), the empanadas tasted just like the best ones I had in Buenos Aires -- not a surprise, I guess, since paraguay is contiguous or just north of the provinces in Argentina that originated empanadas (Tucuman, Salta).

My only wish is that they had more than just one kind, but I guess making these in small batches is what makes them taste so good.

I think these could quite possibly be the best empanadas in Brooklyn.

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  1. This is probably one of the most important Chowhound posts in a long time. I congratulate nadia on bringing this one to our attention. This has all the elements of a true Chowhound "find":
    authenticity, love of cooking, and a decidedly non-commercial element. And nadia's report, including her own experience with Argentine empanadas and her search for authentic empanadas, add an element of the thrill of the hunt to the story. Her description of the product and the producers is colorful and insightful. I'm not likely to visit Tipico soon, but I am sure many hounds will. And, I am sure, we'll hear alot more about the joint. I predict we'll be hearing nothing but good things. Lucali's, Sri, DiFara, Tanoreen...there's a new kid on the block. Thanks, nadia!

    2 Replies
    1. re: famdoc

      wow! thanks, famdoc! i have chowhound to thank for dozens of amazing food experiences (especially in queens), but i've never had the temerity to post anything before. it feels good to give back!

      however, to moderate (somewhat) the enthusiasm of my post, i should mention that we also had the palmitos (hearts of palm) salad, which was fine, but unremarkable. But the empanadas...wow. She said she was making humita empanadas on friday, which I will most certainly be there to try, with my fingers crossed that the second experience is as awesome as the first.

      1. re: nadia

        The reason I said I would not be visiting Tipico any time soon is because my wife and I do not eat meat. However, we eat seafood and all manner of vegetables. If you find they make a seafood or veggie empanada, let us know.

        As for my praise of your post, it was well-deserved. This is really what Chowhound is all about: an opportunity for enthusiastic eaters to share their experiences with others.
        In particular, when that experience is an unheralded or out-of-the-way place, with an interesting pedigree, it is even more valuable. Add to that your personal insight into Argentine food and you've got a stellar piece of Chowhounding.

    2. Thanks for the tip. Back in California we used to buy empanadas from a bolivian woman who filled hers with ground beef, egg whites, sultanas and chopped green olives. This sounds pretty close and I can't wait to give them a try.

      1. I totally agree with the other Posters. I had basically given up on finding decent empanada's and had just decided to wait for the ones made by a good friend . It will be interesting to see if other Chow Hounds have the ssma positive experience. Thanks!.

          1. My boyfriend and I went to Tipico last night on Nadia's recommendations. We were just in Buenos Aires, and had unbelivably divine empanadas at a place there called Kumana. So, I was pretty excited to try them at Tipico. My boyfriend got the beef and plum, and pronounced them just OK. I had the cheese and corn, and while I thought the pastry was light and flaky, the filling was kind of boring. I wanted to like them, I really did (sometimes I think I have Seinfeld syndrome, where I am overeager to promote small, ethnic eateries), but I didn't find them remarkable enough to merit a second visit. bummer!!