[Edit from the future: Empanadas, Son! has permanently closed. Figured I’d just throw that in there before you read this post and get your hopes up.]
I love a good empanada, so I was pretty excited when I read about this place. It’s called Empanadas, Son!—I’m going to omit the exclamation point from here on—and it specializes in (go figure) empanadas.
I looked through their menu, and they didn’t seem use any nuts in anything, but to be sure, I shot them a message on Facebook. The reply was as follows:
My wife is also allergic to tree nuts, so we’ve pretty much kept them off of the menu entirely. The only exception has been the nuttella and banana empanada that we had a few months ago, but that’s about it. As far as cross-contamination is concerned, well, tree nuts have pretty much only touched a few mixing bowls, sheet pans, and possibly some cooking tongs, all of which have been passed through our dishwasher several times since, so I’m pretty sure you’re good.
One of my favorite things to hear back is some form of “my [family member] has a nut allergy, so…” as an explanation for why a restaurant is nut-free (or close). Knowing someone who has food allergies and witnessing those allergies’ effects first-hand goes a long way to educate the un-allergic—so I always feel way safer when the person I’m talking to signals to me that they get it in this way.
Anyway, I ended up making my way to Empanadas, Son a few weeks ago. It’s pretty far east, on Delancey between Clinton and Attorney, only a few blocks from the Williamsburg Bridge, but it’d easily be worth the trip if the empanadas were good. (Also, their delivery range is absolutely enormous.) The empanadas are small, so I ordered 6 (for $15): Carne, Jamon y Queso, French Onion Fugazzeta, and two Caprese—and they ranged from nearly intolerable to “huh, that’s actually all right.”
The Caprese (tomato, mozzarella, parmesan, and basil) was probably the worst. The mozzarella didn’t taste fresh, nor was it fully melted—and the tomatoes, lukewarm, were unimpressive. My favorite—and the only one I really liked at all—was the Jamon y Queso (black forest ham and Swiss), but again, the cheese wasn’t fully melted. Come to think of it, none of the empanadas I ate were anywhere near warm enough, even though they’d been reheated right before they were given to me. Strange.
I was pretty disappointed, but I wasn’t quite ready to give up. So this past weekend, on one particularly lazy and desperate night, I decided to give Empanadas, Son another chance—but this time, I ordered takeout, figuring that I’d at least be able to bring the empanadas to a reasonable temperature in my own oven.
Turns out that’s the key, I guess. Re-reheated, the empanadas were way better. (Not good, but significantly more tolerable.) The Jamon y Queso went from just below average to solidly decent, and the Grilled Cheese was actually pretty good. So I suppose I’ve found the solutions: desperation, laziness, and access to an oven.
Find Empanadas, Son at 174 Delancey Street. Or order in, if you live pretty much anywhere in Lower Manhattan. (Bonus: They’re open until 4:20am.)