Last year, I was lucky enough to live in Buenos Aires, and ate great quantities of empanadas while there. But since I've been back in New York, I haven't been able to find empanadas like the ones -- baked until the dough is golden and russet; dough that is thin, supple, buttery; spiced but not spicy; great empanadas are sort of the perfect combo of delicate and robust, and you can eat them with your hands.
I've had the empanadas at reuben's in manhattan (thumbs down -- bland gummy fillings, too-thick dough); at a place on steinway street (papa's empanadas?) in astoria (though tasty, they were not the empanadas of my dreams -- a little too greasy); and at the corner store on s4 and bedford here in williamsburg (again, tasty, but fried, not baked).
Labor day, I stopped in with my boyfriend at Tipico, which is a paraguayan cafe on s1 between driggs and roebling. The waitress told us that the empanadas were fresh out of the oven, so we ordered two. As soon as I saw them, my heart leapt with joy! They looked so perfect -- the right size (not too big), browned on the top, and with a golden braid of dough. They were beef empanadas, with egg and a few sparse golden sultanas mixed into the filling. The spicing was excellent -- complex and savory. And the dough was as good as it looked.
When we were leaving, we discovered the secret: the owner's mom was doing the cooking. Though she's paraguayan (I suppose), the empanadas tasted just like the best ones I had in Buenos Aires -- not a surprise, I guess, since paraguay is contiguous or just north of the provinces in Argentina that originated empanadas (Tucuman, Salta).
My only wish is that they had more than just one kind, but I guess making these in small batches is what makes them taste so good.
I think these could quite possibly be the best empanadas in Brooklyn.