Earlier this month, I received a comment on my Campos Market review which pointed out that despite my constantly professed love for all the interesting and unique eateries on Orchard Street in Boise, a review of Tango’s Empanadas (not sure if this is their current website or if this is) was conspicuously missing from this site. It wasn’t that I haven’t eaten at Tango’s or don’t like their food, I just simply haven’t been there since I started doing these reviews. Anyway, Andy convinced me that it was time for me to return, and he did it by telling me about the Lomito…
The Lomito is basically Argentina’s version of a steak sandwich (though the same name will get you a different type of sandwich in Chile), and Tango’s makes them only on Fridays until they run out. They’re stuffed full of meat, with a little vegetable matter for good measure and chimichurri sauce. So yeah, limited availability meat sandwich…sometime’s it’s just too easy to get me into a place. Anyway, I called Tango’s the following Friday and ordered one to go. Just for good measure, I also ordered an El Puerco empanada, which with its filling of pork, potato and green salsa was the best-sounding thing on their menu as far as I’m concerned. My food wasn’t quite ready when I arrived, but it’s fine because it gave me a chance to chat with the proprietor. I’d forgotten how genuinely friendly the guy is, and after spending so much time lately dealing with restaurant staff who just go through the motions, this man was a breath of fresh air. He did me a great favor by giving me a heads up that the El Puerco was a little on the mild side, and depending on my tastes might benefit from some of their spicier green sauce. He presented me with a couple of little containers, and by the time I had them filled my order was ready to go.
Back at the office, I emptied out the contents of my take-out bag. Between the size of the sandwich, the empanada being much bigger than I remembered, and the accompanying bag of baked chips (interesting from a place that specializes in fried food), I knew there was no way I could take down that much food. Luckily I was able to find a co-worker who hadn’t eaten yet, and I handed off the chips and half of the sandwich to him. I had no idea what I was getting myself into here, whether the sauce or the onions would take center stage, but I needn’t have worried. This sandwich was all about tender, high-quality beef (tri tip, if I recall correctly). Probably not what most people around here would think of when craving a steak sandwich, but very good and likely much healthier than a cheesesteak. Before I’d even finished my half, I got an e-mail from my co-worker thanking me for the sandwich, telling me how good he thought it was and asking where it had come from. So if you can’t trust me, at least trust my anonymous co-worker!
|El Puerco empanada|
As good as the Lomito was, the El Puerco was what really hit the spot for me. My weakness for pork is well documented, but when it’s falling-apart tender, mixed with soft chunks of potato and tomatillo sauce, and wrapped up in a flaky pastry crust…that’s comfort food of the highest order. It was delicious as it was, but a little on the mild side as I’d been warned.
|Spicy green sauce|
As promised, the green sauce livened things up a bit, luckily without making the entire thing just taste like the sauce. To be honest, I couldn’t decide if I liked the empanada better with or without it, and kept alternating almost bite by bite.
Even though they’re not really included in this review, I can tell you that on previous visits I’ve tried the Gaucho empanada, the Tango sub and the Lemon dessert empanada, and enjoyed all of them. If you don’t like deep-fried pastry or big meaty subs, this isn’t going to be your type of place, but then again why the hell would you be reading this blog if you didn’t like those things?
Final Grade: A