Quick Facts: La Gourmet Empanadas is a brand new take-out restaurant on the corner of West Ferry and Herkimer on Buffalo’s westside. They specialize in, you guessed it, Empanadas, a stuffed pastry that can be either friend or baked, savory or sweet. As of right now, La Gourmet Empanadas is take-out only with plans for a fenced in outside seating area this summer. They are open from 11am-9pm Monday through Saturday and 12pm-6pm on Sunday. Their menu includes not only Empanadas ($4-$6.50 for an order of 2), but also fried appetizers like pizza logs and fried pickles as well as chicken wings/fingers, burgers, pizza, subs, BBQ dinners and Rotisserie pork and chicken.
Our Meal: I (Alli) stopped into La Gourmet Empanadas on their 2nd day of business with two co-workers. We walked into the newly renovated building and were immediately greeted by Chris, the restaurant manager. He was friendly and patient, as we ordered a long list of items to try. The restaurant does not yet have seating, but Chris mentioned the possibility of fencing in an area outside for some tables this summer. He also told us they have big plans for the rest of the building, including a roof top lounge in the next few years. Behind the long counter is an open kitchen, where you can watch Chef Jeffry Harris and his crew at work. Chris told us they like to make everything fresh daily and the empanadas are fried to order, taking about five minutes to cook. While the menu is large and contains many Buffalo comfort foods (wings, fish fry, pizza), we stuck to the empanadas. We tried the chicken, beef, pulled pork and veggie. Two large Empanadas and dipping sauce come with each order and the prices range from $4 for pulled pork to $6.50 for options like seafood or black bean. The actual pastry shells of the Empanadas were fried to a crispy golden brown. The chicken was the group favorite, juicy and full of flavorful meat and gooey cheese. The beef and veggie were also tasty with the latter being stuffed with beans, veggies and seasonings that gave it a bit of a smokey/spicy kick. The only disappointment was the pulled pork, which came with a sweet dipping sauce. The pork was dry and didn’t have a ton of flavor. The sauce helped, but we found ourselves only taking a few bites. We also sampled some fried pickles, Spanish rice and finished it all off with an order of what we were told were banana Empanadas but turned out to be apple. A happy mistake as they were quite delicious, covered in cinnamon sugar with a warm and gooey apple-pie like interior.
Summary: While La Gourmet Empanadas has only been open for 3 days and are still working out some kinks, we were pretty impressed. We are looking forward to going back to try some of their seafood and rotisserie options in the very near future.
Can’t Miss Dish: Chicken Empanada, any of the dessert Empanadas (especially apple).