Fusion Empanada in Montclair Gets Mixed Response

We got off to a rocky start at Fusion Empanada. But how was the food?

The night did not start out well at Fusion Empanada in Montclair. First of all, the restaurant ran out of paper napkins and substituted paper towels. Considering that there was a grocery store across the street, we do not know why they did not send someone there to purchase napkins. Oh well!

We poured our wine, sipped it and made faces at each other. The glasses had a soapy chemical smell. The waitress graciously took away our half filled glasses and brought back glasses that she said she personally washed. No smell this time. Then I lifted my menu and spilled the second glass of wine on a man at the neighboring table. I apologized and offered to pay for the cleaning. He was gracious and laughed the incident off. Finally, I was able to taste the third glass of wine and asked the waitress for new napkins. This is when she brought paper towels and told us that they ran out of napkins.

Okay, enough of the drama. How about the food?

We ordered six baked rather than fried empanadas. The spinach and ricotta; mushroom medley and maduros con queso can be recommended. Not as successful were the stringy beef and maduros; the overly spiced chipotle, and the dry Cuban pork. The three dipping sauces; mayonnaise and ketchup, spicy tomatillo, and sour cream added interest, but did not save the meat empanadas that we did not like.

Portions are large and after six empanadas we were happy that we ordered only one entrée to share. The pork shank was fork tender but dry. Rice with smatterings of beans and a salad accompanied this dish. Although dessert empanadas (Nutella & banana, salted caramel apple and guava & cheese) were available, we opted for a luscious cake iced with whipped cream and rolled in coconut flakes accompanied by guava syrup and vanilla ice cream. It was gobbled up. Interestingly, although the restaurant was using paper towels for napkins, the waitress told us that the ice cream was purchased from the supermarket across the street.

Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner; brunch offered Saturday and Sunday.

Pork shank
Photo courtesy of Lowell Safterstein

Fusion Empanada
706 Bloomfield Avenue

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