5411 is the international dialing code for Buenos Aires, a city whose food-- and particularly its empanadas-- were the inspiration behind this restaurant's cuisine. 5411's Lakeview restaurant is their first brick and mortar restaurant, but their empanada empire has quickly expanded to encompass a food truck that sells out before the end of the lunch hour (where it all began), 2 stores in Wicker Park, a downtown Loop location, and even one in Coral Gables, Florida.
Alex and I stopped into 5411 Empanadas on Clark St. on a recent Sunday afternoon for a quick lunch date while we were out running errands. The shop is cozy, but modern with a huge old fashioned espresso machine for a variety of handcrafted coffee beverages and a huge chalkboard showcasing their menu of empanadas.
Empanadas are South America's answer to the Polish pierogi, the Italian ravioli, and the Chinese dumpling. They're made of tender pastry dough stuffed with a variety of fillings and at 5411, they're baked and not fried. At 5411 they're available with a huge variety of fillings from the traditional to the creative and from meaty to vegetarian. With so many available, Alex and I decided to order 8 different empanadas so that we could sample as many varieties as possible.
At 5411 Empanadas, each empanada is shaped differently depending on its filling. Not only do they look extra pretty this way, but it's a quick and easy way to identify what you're eating before biting into it. Each table at the restaurant comes with a sheet cheat-- and there's one on every takeout box too!
Between the two of us, we sampled the Beef, BBQ Chicken, Bacon Date & Goat Cheese, Chorizo & Patatas Bravas, Cheddar Bacon & Egg, Sweet Corn, Caramelized Onion & Parmesan, and Banana & Nutella. We sampled them all along with their spicy red hot pepper dipping sauce and their traditional chimichurri, an herbaceous and garlicky sauce that's just perfect for dipping. While we enjoyed all of the empanadas we tried, there were definitely a few standout favorites among the bunch:
The Cheddar Bacon & Egg variety was a really fun twist on a classic empanada. These were great as a part of our lunch experience, but would be so perfect for breakfast on the go! They were stuffed with fluffy scrambled eggs, chopped smoky bacon, and melty cheddar cheese. And they were perfect dipped in 5411's spicy 'red hot' sauce.
We also loved the sweet dessert-inspired Banana & Nutella filled empanada too. Alex loves anything Nutella-flavored and the fact that it was warm and melty and accompanied by ripe chunks of banana made it extra delicious. It's also a perfect little something sweet to cap off a very savory meal.
5411 Empanadas is a great option for a quick and flavorful meal when you're out and about in Lakeview. They're also BYOB if you'd like to make it a casual date night! And for a date night in, 5411 also offers takeout and delivery options too. And speaking of, it's been about 2 weeks since my last empanada fix... thinking it's time to stop back in again!
Editor's Note: Our meal at 5411 Empanadas was complimentary, however all opinions expressed herein are my own.