Click here for updates on the evolving COVID-19 situation at Rice
Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Tuesday, December 07, 2021 — Houston, TX °

Review: 5411 Empanadas brings outstanding food on opening day

empanada-zeisha-bennett-web
Zeisha Bennett / Thresher

By Sydney Park     11/9/21 11:38pm

On a restaurant’s opening day, some might worry that they’ll be met with a myriad of problems from low-quality customer service to absurdly long wait times. However, this wasn’t the case for 5411 Empanadas, which opened on Nov. 6. Located in Midtown about a 10 minute Uber ride from Rice campus, you’ll find a welcoming, modern ambiance, quick and friendly staff and, of course, delectably warm, made-from-scratch empanadas.  

Named for the international dialing code for Buenos Aires, Argentina, 5411 Empanadas began as a Chicago food truck in 2009. After gaining popularity, the owners opened the flagship location in 2012 before expanding to the greater Chicago area. More recently, the restaurant has branched out into Houston, opening downtown in 2016 before adding its Midtown location this year. 

The new restaurant has a sleek, modern look with white-tiled walls, wooden coffee tables, lo-fi music and an open coffee bar. There was a long line upon arrival, but it moved fairly quickly, and the service was commendable, with friendly staff. The restaurant even handed out complementary tote bags to customers in honor of the grand opening. 



Now, let’s talk empanadas. Priced at $2.75 per empanada, the menu provides a plethora of options to choose from. They have everything from Impossible meat to malbec beef to banana and nutella. After heavily debating which ones to try, I settled for three: traditional beef, barbeque chicken as well as one with bacon, dates and goat cheese. 

By far, the bacon, dates and goat cheese empanada was the standout. The flavor profile was immaculate — not too sweet, salty or rich. It arrived warm from the oven with a perfectly baked shell. The ratio of bread to filling was superb, and it genuinely exceeded my expectations. I ordered the housemade chimichurri sauce as well, which was flavor packed with garlic, parsley and olive oil. The combination of the empanada with the sauce was absolutely delicious, and they complemented each other excellently. 

Similarly, the barbecue chicken empanada had savory and sweet flavors, although they were not as strong as the previous. It was decent, but it was missing the traditional barbeque smokiness from the chicken. The onions and cilantro added texture and a more complex flavor, and it wasn’t too greasy. 

Unfortunately, I’d have to rank the traditional beef at the bottom of the list. The empanada was comparatively bland and heavily depended on the chimichurri to boost the flavor profile. The ingredients were high quality though, and I would still recommend it if you’re looking for a classic and simple beef empanada. 

For both empanada lovers and first-timers, you will not be disappointed with a trip to 5411 Empanadas. It’s close to campus, decently priced and offers something for everyone. Between the friendly staff and welcoming atmosphere, it makes for some good food with good vibes. 



More from The Rice Thresher

A&E 11/30/21 11:47pm
Review: ‘Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley’ is a holiday delight

Main Street Theater’s production of “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” is a play that serves as a sequel to Jane Austen’s classic “Pride and Prejudice.” Lauren Gunderson’s clever script showcases the Bennet sisters once again, this time spending Christmas together at Pemberley. This farcical romantic-comedy focuses on awkward middle sister Mary Bennet (Chaney Moore) as she finds love with Mr. Darcy’s equally awkward cousin, Arthur de Bourgh (Aaron Alford). Main Street Theater presents an excellent production of the show with very few missteps and is only a walk to Rice Village away from campus. Performances will continue through Dec. 19 with $10 student tickets. 

A&E 11/30/21 11:46pm
Review: More risk, less reward than expected from Adele’s ‘30’

Adele’s fourth studio album “30” is a vulnerable amalgamation of jarring rhythms and soulful influences. Released on Nov. 19, “30” generated widespread critical acclaim for its candid, emotional narration of Adele’s divorce from Simon Konecki. Despite her previously established reputation for a rich vocal range and expressive, emotional lyricism, listeners and critics alike have lauded the new record as Adele’s greatest musical risk to date. A poignant account of the turbulence of family, love, fame, and heartbreak, “30” reiterates Adele’s timeless ability to storytell in a way that touches the hearts of fans everywhere. 

A&E 11/30/21 11:44pm
Holiday sights around Houston

It is beginning to look a lot like the holiday season with the lit up Christmas tree at Fondren, Mariah Carey playing at the President’s barbecue and lights wound around trees in Rice Village. To reel in the Houston winter vibes, look no further for a list of holiday attractions to visit during dead days to avoid studying for finals.


Comments

Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.