What’s not to love about potato latkes? At their most basic level, they consist of shredded or mashed potatoes, pan-fried and served with sour cream and applesauce. But lets face it, after eight days of Hanukkah, even something so delicious can tend to get, well, kind of boring. Which is why we’ve rounded up New York’s tastiest – not to mention most unique – latkes, enough to see you through the entire holiday. Because once you’ve enjoyed Toloache’s Zucchini-studded Pancakes with Tomatillo Apple Salsa for dinner and Minetta Tavern’s Poached Egg and Salmon-topped Potato Latkes at brunch, you’ll be able to wholeheartedly affirm our first statement… what’s not to love about latkes?
Still having trouble getting a table for dinner at Keith McNally’s classy, clubby Minetta Tavern? Surprisingly, it’s a lot easier to score a spot at brunch (during which yes, you can still enjoy the adulated house burger). But we suggest ordering the exemplary, crispy but not at all oily Latkes, which serve as a base for perfectly Poached Eggs, velvety Smoked Salmon, and vibrant Dill Hollandaise. Who says you can’t celebrate the Jewish holidays stylishly?
Sure, you could splurge on the Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata at this unwaveringly upbeat, all-day brunch spot in the Le Parker Meridien Hotel (it actually only costs $100). Or you can go for a variety of too-cute dishes, like “Artychoked Benedict” or “Donut Even Go There French Toast.” But the Potato Pancakes (with a James Beard award-winning recipe!) don’t require a clever moniker. They’re just straight up scrumptious, served with homemade Cranberry Applesauce and Carrot Payasam, a type of Indian rice pudding.
You generally don’t expect thought-out Hanukkah fare from a Mexican restaurant… unless you’re talking about Toloache. Chef and owner Julian Medina converted to Judaism after meeting his wife, Annie, with delectable results. You’ll love the trio of crispy pancakes with a South-of-the-Border twist, like Potato Jalapeno Latkes with Horseradish Crema, Zucchini with Tomatillo Apple Salsa, and Mexican Ricotta with Chipotle Agave Nectar. And talk about an upgrade from Manischewitz; you can sip a Hanukkah Margarita instead, spiked with chocolate-infused tequila and rimmed with gold leaf.Read More
2nd Ave Deli
If you have a soft spot for the classics, it doesn’t get much better than the Latkes at this 60-year-old deli, made with finely shredded potatoes and onions bound together with eggs and matzoh meal. Unless you take a chance on the “Instant Heart Attack,” that is. True to its name, the sandwich consists of two potato pancakes, cradling an insurmountable heap of corned beef, pastrami, salami or turkey. Since you’ve already committed yourself to eating deep-fried starch for eight straight days, why start counting calories now?
This 24-hour East Village mainstay excels at Eastern European comfort food favorites, like Borscht, Stuffed Cabbage, Beef Stroganoff and Pierogi. So you can bet that they make a mean Potato Pancake, too. Light and thin instead of heavy and doughy, the latkes can be ordered singly… but why would you want to? We’ll take a whole plate please, piled high with purist mounds of sour cream and applesauce.Read More
Once you’ve tackled 2nd Ave Deli’s artery-clogging concoction, you’ll appreciate this relatively healthy, hippy spin on the carbolicious Hanukkah staple. Instead of deep-fried potatoes, R&D’s baked patties are made with Shredded Carrots and woodsy Parsnips, then topped with sauteed greens. Although, you’ll inevitably end up undoing all of your good work once you succumb to the housemade Cake Donuts… this spot is owned by two City Bakery alums, after all.
Mill Basin Deli
Housemade potato chips are appealing enough, but how about housemade Latke Chips? Accidentally created by a Mill Basin waitress, who took a bowl of potato pancake leftovers and fried them super-thin as a snack, these are perfect for dipping in applesauce (or if you have the stomach for it, a plate of course chopped liver). Either way, you definitely won’t be able to eat just one of these intensely addictive, lip-smackingly salty crisps. (We smell a new Hanukkah trend.)
On the outset, the Creamed Spinach and Poached Egg-topped Waffle Benedict from The Smith seems like a far cry from traditional Hanukkah fare. But chef Brian Ellis’ fragrant, chewy waffles are actually made from onion-flecked latke batter, resulting in an entirely original play on the potato pancake. We’ll never settle for English muffins in our Eggs Benedict again.Read More