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Long Beach: enter the empanada

Long Beach, N.Y. --- March 2010 --- Cheese

Long Beach, N.Y. --- March 2010 --- Cheese empanada at Raul's Empanadas Town in Long Beach. ( Newsday Photo/Joan Reminick) ltc Photo Credit: Joan Reminick/Newsday Photo

Say  “Raul’s Empanadas Town,” and you’ve said more than a mouthful. Since mid-January, the colorful new Long Beach offshoot of a Morristown, New Jersey, empanada joint has been serving up a panoply of meat, cheese and vegetable pies, most of them South and Central American in origin. Founder Raul Silva hails from Colombia.

With the price of an individual empanada averaging about $3, this is the definition of economical eating. Since most of these weighty discs and half-moons (made with cornmeal and/or potato flour) are deep-fried (with skill) rather than baked, a visit to Raul's may not be just what the cardiologist ordered.

At lunch, recently, I tasted a variety of empanadas, my favorite fillings being the meltingly good five-cheese (mozzarella, American, Cheddar, white and pepper Jack), and the “rock” (ground beef and cheddar). While I wasn’t won over by the rather dry chicken empanada, I loved the spicy aji (cilantro-based hot sauce) on the side. A passionfruit shake proved ideal for putting out the fire.

Raul's Empanadas Town is at 167 E. Park Ave., Long Beach, 516-431-6700.

Photo of 5-cheese empanada/Joan Reminick


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