Saturday night my friend who writes reviews for NY Magazine invited me to dinner at Empanada Mama, a small empanada spot in Hells Kitchen I had recommended to him.

I was excited for two reasons. The first being I had been there once before and enjoyed the empanadas, thus the reason for the recommendation. The second reason of course was that I was not paying!

The the long list of empanadas are made in either wheat flour or corn flour. We ordered a bunch of them. From the wheat side we tried the cheesesteak, spicy chicken, and the spinach and cheese. From the corn side we ordered the chili and beef, and chicken with peas and carrots.

Every empanada we tasted was truly excellent. The corn flour ones were a tad crispier, and I liked that. All the meat inside, including the chicken and beef was very tender and juicy-perfectly cooked.

We also tried the veal and rice ball tapas. I never tried anything like it and it was also wonderful.

For dessert we tried the belgian chocolate and banana empanada, as well as the fig, cheese and belgian chocolate empanada. They were both delicious, and in fact the fig, cheese, and chocolate empanada turned out to be my favorite one of all. I never thought chocolate and cheese would be a great pairing. But the warmth of the chocolate and melted cheese together was superb.

The most amazing fact about this restaurant is the pricing. Each empanada ranges from $1.75 to $3.00 each. This is truly one of the best deals in town. I recommend Empanada Mama to anyone interested in a great deal and great food.

Empanada Mama

763 9th Ave, (at 51st St)

New York, NY 10019