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Dec 3, 2007 09:31 PM

Best latkes

I love latkes...but I am not Jewish (no bubbe to make them for me). Where are the best places for traditional latkes?

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  1. Not specifically latkes, but both Christine's on 1st btwn 12th and 13th and Odessa on Ave A btwn 7th and St Marks have excellent potato pancakes as well as great pierogies and blintzes.

    I also frequently enjoy potato pancakes while seated at the bar at Heidelberg on 2nd and 86th. Great with a Hefe Weiss.


    5 Replies
    1. re: TipsyMcStagger

      Tipsy, The Yiddish word "latke" means pancake, especially one made with grated potato. So even if the menus at Christine's and Odessa say "potato pancakes," they are serving "latkes." :-)

      1. re: RGR

        I'm not sure that's true. I've seen potato pancakes (not at these restaurants) made with mashed potatoes; I believe latkes are made with grated/shredded ones. So it might be worth specifying sometimes.

        1. re: piccola

          Sometimes you bother grating, sometimes not- that's just technique, doesn't change the definition. I hear the ones at B & H are OK.

          1. re: addictedtolunch

            Technique does change the definition in cooking. Mashed vs. grated potatoes is a different pancake, just like baked vs. fried potatoes are a different dish. I'm just sayin'.

      2. re: TipsyMcStagger

        SILVER SWAN on 20th has very good potato pancakes, as I recall. Fresh, crispy, just greasy enough, and flavorful. They are served with apple sauce and sour cream.

        While you're at it, order me up some Weisswurst and a Swartzbier...

      3. Sorry that I do not have any suggestions, but I would like to tack on to that question: I am looking for latkes made from matzoh meal instead of potatoes. Anyone know where to get those? My grandmother made them like that with sugar on top.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hamstrman

          I'm pretty sure Katz's Deli has latkes. Can't speculate on whether they have the matzoh meal variety or not though. And hey, if they don't, just get one of those incredible pastrami sandwiches

          1. re: hamstrman

            hamstrman, You're more likely to find matzoh latkes being served around Passover. Perhaps the re-opened 2nd Avenue Deli will have them. They used to be closed for Passover, but that will probably change now that they will no longer be kosher.

          2. Stage restaurant, 2nd Ave @ St, Marks. Made to order. Best in the neighborhood, hands down.

            1. just had barney greengrass for lunch and had their latkes - wow. they are really good.
              great crust, not too greasy and just delicous.

              1. I love good potato latkes but seem to have been on an impossible quest to find good potato pancakes in Manhattan.

                The ones I remember that were delicious were from my friend's house whose Yiddish grandmother made them coarsely ground, with onions and mixed with matzoh meal. They were so light and tasty.

                The ones I've tried in restaurants are like big greasy tennis balls. Here's what I found:

                Sarge's Deli - for shame! Too big with a crust that tastes like fried chicken batter, no oniony or potato taste. Potatos not coarsely grinded

                Veselka's - Phooey - stick to the pierog and soups! Veselkas are frozen and then reheated.
                They still tasted cold and tasteless.

                Other restaurants I can't remember but not good tasting latkas or I would have remembered the names.

                I'm wondering: Does the type of potato used make a difference? i.e., russet, Idaho, white generic potato? Should the potato be drained of excess water before mixing with batter?
                Does anyone have any tips or tricks for making delicious latkas at home?