11 Best Latkes for Hanukkah
Latkes have been a Hanukkah mainstay for generations, but their audience and their ingredient list has grown recently. Once the fare of New York’s old-school kosher spots, we now see variations of this classic popping up on menus of all cuisines, in the most unexpected of ways. Whether you enjoy these fluffy rounds of fried potatoes savory or sweet (or not even involving potatoes), you’re sure to find the spin that works for you.
Viviane's Potato Rosti
Viviane, the newly opened Beverly Hills, CA restaurant, helmed by Executive Chef Michael Hung (formerly of Faith & Flower), recently unveiled the Potato Rosti, featuring a thyme and parsley potato pancake slow fried in clarified butter for a crispy exterior and tender aromatic interior. For this take on the latke dish, forget the sour cream and sugar. Viviane’s Potato Rosti is topped with a farm egg, pickled beets, and herbed farmer’s cheese.
Mile End Deli's Zucchini Latkes with Deviled Egg, Mint and Caviar
Mile End Deliin New York City brings latkes to a place a bit more upscale with their Zucchini Latkes with Deviled Egg, Mint and Caviar. "Zucchini is such a wonderfully light vegetable; it can really take any flavor you pair it with. So I pair it with a light, creamy deviled egg topping and accentuate it with light clusters of salmon roe and a beautifully fresh finish of mint,” says Chef Tony Nassif.
Caplansky’s Latke Poutine
At Toronto restaurant Caplansky’s, Zane Caplansky forgoes French fries in favor of latkes for his take on poutine, featuring six crispy potato pancakes sprinkled with cheese curds and covered with a smoked-meat gravy. Made in house from PEI potatoes, onions, matzo meal and schmaltz (chicken fat), they have been a staple of the menu from day one. But Latke Poutine happened almost by accident after the restaurant ran out of french fries and had to find an alternative. When a customer requested poutine, Caplansky "chopped up some latkes, threw on fresh cheddar cheese curds and slathered on my signature smoked meat gravy." Today it is a regular item on the menu.
STRIPSTEAK’s Mirepoix Latke
While a normal latke is mainly comprised of potatoes, eggs and maybe an adventurous onion, at STRIPSTEAK in Las Vegas, Chef Gerald Chin infuses flavors of the season with a latke made out of carrots, celery root, and parsnip. The latke is sautéed in savory duck fat before being served alongside an immensely flavorful spiced pear butter sauce, rather than the typical apple sauce.
The Smith Potato Waffle Benedict
At popular Manhattan brasserie, The Smith, a brunch favorite — Potato Waffle Benedict — becomes even more popular during Hanukkah as it's made with traditional potato latke batter, pressed in a waffle iron, in place of the traditional English muffin. The latke waffles (made with grated potatoes and onion, egg and flour) are topped with poached eggs and creamed spinach made with caramelized onions and Parmesan cheese.
Fischer Bros. & Leslie Quinoa Latke
Fischer Bros. & Leslie, the oldest kosher butcher in New York City, has created a healthy spin on the potato pancake via the quinoa latke. These homemade latkes are gluten free and made with organic quinoa with a bit of carrots, zucchini and fresh herbs. “This is a great alternative to our traditional potato latkes. They’re high in protein, gluten free and really quite tasty." says Paul Whitman of Fischer Bros. & Leslie.
élan's Carrot Latke
David Waltuck of élan in New York City believes the secret in his latke recipe is the carrot. Carrots give latkes a vibrant, bright color, while sopping up excess water, which is the ruin of all latkes everywhere, and keeps them extra crispy. A tip: “The more water you’re able to squeeze from the shredded ingredients, the crispier the latkes will be,” says Waltuck.
Ayara Thai Kitchen’s Vegetable Latkes
The vegetable latkes from Chef Vanda Asapahu at Ayara Thai Kitchen in Los Angeles offer a much lighter take on the classic holiday dish, which they serve with their refreshingly sweet and tangy cucumber sauce.
Jsix’s Root Vegetable Latkes
Christian Graves from Jsix in San Diego makes a Braised Short Rib and Roasted Fish with Beet and Potato Latkes. He likes to use the root vegetable to add an earthy component to the latke. "By adding root vegetables, like beets, to your latkes, it offers a lighter take on the traditional dish. Serve with a nice fish or braised meat and top with a little crème fraîche. It ties it all in."
Rosewood CordeValle’s Potato Latkes with Smoked Brisket
Rosewood CordeValle’s Executive Chef Tim Wetzel has created Potato Latkes with Smoked Brisket and Cinnamon Braised Apple Sour Cream for the menu at this northern California-based spot. Chef Wetzel’s potato latkes showcase the freshness of the local produce found in San Martin, California and provides a new presentation of a traditional dish. “Potato latkes are one of the most traditional dishes during the holiday season and is usually served with apple sauce and sour cream. I decided to create a dish that combined all of the familiar elements of the dish and included smoked brisket and cinnamon to add a bit of spice,” says Wetzel.
Cusp's Sweet Potato Latkes
Executive Chef Donald Lockhart of Cusp Dining & Drinks in La Jolla, CA makes a sweet potato latke with scallions and serves them on top of coconut-curry chickpea stew. "Using sweet potato instead of regular potato adds a unique, more refined flavor. I also like to keep my cakes a bit rounder versus flat for the perfect balance of crispy and chewy,” says Lockhart.