A lot of New Yorkers avoid Times Square. It seems to lose its charm as you grow up and eventually just walking through Times Square becomes aggravating as you try to weave through tourists who seem to be stopped in the middle of the street everywhere taking pictures… which I never do when I go places (just saying…). There are those annoying promoters everywhere trying to sell you tickets to comedy shows and things on Broadway, and the people dressed up as Minnie Mouse and Spiderman who wave as you walk by in a slightly creepy manner. With all of Times Square’s shortcomings, I hate to admit it, but I always walk through it. Maybe it’s because it makes me feel like a kid again, or maybe I just need to feel like a tourist sometimes, I don’t really know, but today as I was walking through Times Square I stopped at a food stand that I couldn’t pass up: Nuchas empanadas.
Nuchas is a small empanada smack dab in the middle of Times Square (literally, in the middle of the street) that specializes in Argentine-style empanadas and sweets. The menu is pretty basic because it is a food stand after all, but all things considered they offer a lot! They have meat empanadas, which include the Short Rib (slow braised in red wine, with onions, peppers, and fresh herbs, in rosemary dough), and the Jambalaya (shrimp, andouille, arborio rice, tomatoes, onion, and peppers in turmeric dough). They also have vegetable empanadas, which include the Spicy Cheese (assorted cheeses and caramelized onions, in white Parmesean dough) and the Shiitake Curry (shiitake mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, onions, peppers, and coconut milk, in turmeric dough). You can also get a sweet empanada, which is their Apple, Cranberry, & Nutella which is served in a white almond dough (yum!). They offer other sweets, like a Medialuna (Argentine sweet croissant) and Alfajores. All of the empanadas and sweets are $2.76 each (which is a pretty good price for the empanadas at least). And to wash it all down, you can get hot drinks like coffee, mate, and espresso drinks, or choose from their sodas.
I read the menu and immediately wanted the Short Rib empanada because it sounded mouth-wateringly good and the rosemary dough in an empanada sounded insanely good, but unfortunately they were all out of them, as it was nearing the end of the day. I was a little discouraged but I decided to go for their Argentine empanada (ground beef, onions, pepper, scallions, potatoes, and olives, in white dough). It wasn’t as exciting sounding as the Short Rib but I was pleasantly surprised by how tasty it was and filling too! The empanadas aren’t exactly small, but not huge because they’re empanadas after all, so I wasn’t sure if it was going to satisfy my hunger. But it was just the right thing for a little more than an afternoon snack and it tided me over until I got home for dinner. I could tell that the ingredients were of good quality and the beef was cooked and seasoned well. There was a tiny bit of heat to it but it was mostly just a great blend of beef and the vegetables.
I’ll have to return for that Short Rib empanada sometime, or maybe the Apple, Cranberry, & Nutella (because who can turn down Nutella?). I would recommend Nuchas as a great place to pick up a snack on the go or to pick up a meal and sit in Times Square. There’s a little something for everyone, and who doesn’t like empanadas?
Times Square (Broadway between 44th and 45th Streets)