Flashy new empanadaria off Dupont Circle, between the old and new Pizza Paradiso locations, Panas (2029 P Street) doesn’t stand out much from the street, but is almost startlingly modern inside, not exactly a cozy atmosphere. Welcome to the world of fast-food empanadas I guess. Their self-described “Latin Fusion gourmet empanadas” are worth a visit, though. I tried only two on my first visit, and while the chipotle steak was average, the carne was exactly like the ones we ate in Argentina, same shape and size and texture, same savory ground beef with eggs, olives, peppers, and spices. Not on the level of Azafran (beware Flash and music upon loading), but as good as any other. I could eat one of these carne empanadas just about daily, but I’m looking forward to trying others, especially the CubaNovo and tamal. Mrs. Me has her eye on the dulce de leche dessert empanada.
Panas offers four dipping sauces, which are completely superfluous for the carne, but I thought the mild chimi sauce, replete with garlic and (overwhelmingly) oregano, improved the chipotle steak. The aji sauce has a slight kick but is essentially mayo. Empanadas are available by the dozen, and combos (with drink and plantain chips) are an okay deal. We have a Groupon, so we’ll be back soon.