Making latkes is hard in a small apartment kitchen. The brave cook ends up with oil burns and will probably find crusty potato shreds on the floor come Passover. So we don’t blame the Hanukkah-celebrating folk for venturing out to eat potato pancakes, especially when served with chopped liver or a heaping pile of pastrami.
Mile End Deli began serving a monstrous latke plate when Hanukkah started last week: Surf ‘n turf latkes ($16). On top of two hearty potato pancakes made of celery root and parsnips, the geniuses behind Montreal style smoked meat top one fried pancake with chopped liver, gribenes, and pickled eggs. The other is served with trout roe and whitefish salad. Both are enough to make any Jewish grandmother smile, or keel over from a clogged artery.
Latke enthusiasts can also hit up a number of different spots for a restaurant’s take on the dish. Downtown, Ukrainian East Village Restaurant and Veselka offer classic takes. Ukrainian minces their potatoes, and for $10.50, you can get a hearty plate with apple sauce and sour cream. At Veselka, a single latke goes for just $3.75, or if your table is ambitious, grab a whole platter for $9.25
Second Avenue Deli — which is actually on 33rd Street — offers another traditional but pricey option. For $15.95, devour a plate of potato pancakes and apple sauce. But you might as well go big (and then after you will definitely need to go home) by splurging on an “Instant Heart Attack.” Slam some pastrami or corned beef between two monstrous pancakes and call it a Hanukkah miracle.
Or head to Kutsher’s Tribeca for a gourmet take. The regular menu features $9 and $18 options, but until Saturday the restaurant will celebrate the festival of lights with a different latke each night.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 13, 2012