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Dec 2, 2012 10:38 AM

Chanukah Dinner?

We are looking for a place to have a traditional Chanukah dinner for 10 people. I tried Kutscher's but they don't seem to have brisket (only something made with lamb). Any suggestions? Thank you.

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  1. What's in a traditional Chanukah dinner, other than latkes (and apparently brisket)? Sufganiyot for dessert (which I don't remember from my childhood in the 70s)? Roast chicken, maybe? I frankly do not have any sense that there's anything traditional for Ashenazic Chanukah other than latkes and Chanukah gelt, but I'd be interested to hear what your experience is.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Pan

      Isn't it just essentially "anything fried"?

      1. re: Sneakeater

        Yeah, fried plus chocolate, I figure.

      2. re: Pan

        We were looking for a place that serves brisket, roast chicken, latkes, and matzo ball soup. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks

        1. re: gateway girl

          2nd Ave Deli serves all of those dishes on a regular basis... not sure if they will do anything special for Chanukah.

          1. re: iluvcookies

            True, but Katz's is better . . . .

            1. re: zin1953

              Generally speaking, yes. But does Katz's serve brisket regularly?

              Oh yes, they do! I've never ordered it there... thanks :)


              1. re: iluvcookies

                Yeah, actually, their brisket may be their second-best item (it's between that and their corned beef), provided that you get it juicy.

        2. re: Pan

          apparently organized labor is to blame (credit?) with the popularity of sufganiyot (jelly donuts) as a celebratory hannukah food. according to the author latkes lacked commercial appeal - though they obviously never spoke to the good folks at russ and daughters who get like 3 bucks each.

          1. re: tex.s.toast

            Interesting article. Thank you.

        3. I've never heard of Brisket for Chanukah.

          The best brisket in the city is associated with bbq places, but figuring out if any of those happen to have a potato pancake appetizer, or offer it on special during the holiday is a project.

          Telepan offers latkes on their menu, paired with lox. They have rib eye on the menu, if that works.

          Miles End typically does a special holiday menu if you're considering takeout (they're too small to handle a party of 10).

          Maybe David's Brisket House? Gottlieb's?

          Jezebel is a newish kosher restaurant attempting high end dining, but I don't think they offer meat at all.

          I wouldn't bother with 2nd Ave. (which is not good for groups) or Katz's.
          Artie's or Junior's would handle the group size okay, and I believe have the menu combo you want, but these aren't great suggestions.

          I wonder if places like Bowery Diner or Delicatessen might work?
          Ukranian Home also comes to mind, but I can't recall if they have brisket.

          What about splitting up your dinner and visiting more than one place in the night?
          Better yet, I'd suggest focusing on the latkes, and jelly donuts, the two items traditional for that particular holiday.

          12 Replies
          1. re: sugartoof

            >>> The best brisket in the city is associated with bbq places, but figuring out if any of those happen to have a potato pancake appetizer, or offer it on special during the holiday is a project. <<<
            As Anthony Bourdain said, "Only Jews and Texans understand brisket . . . "

            1. re: zin1953

              "As Anthony Bourdain said, "Only Jews and Texans understand brisket . . . ""

              I actually seem to recall reading that a few of the Texas style BBQ pitmasters in NY were coincidentally Jewish.

            2. re: sugartoof

              You've never heard of Brisket for Chanukah? Really? Growing up, every single one of my Jewish friends' families served it on Chanukah. When I make it, my husband calls it "Chanukah food".
              It is nothing like smoked or BBQ brisket... a whole different animal.

              1. re: iluvcookies

                Both lamb and brisket are common holiday meals now that cholent and tzimmis aren't as commonplace, but I'm not aware of any association with any single holiday.

                Chanukah food is fried for symbolic reasons.
                Potato pancakes and brisket together? Usually the Latkes are the main course.

                1. re: sugartoof

                  Potato Pancakes and brisket together... several times at Chanukah meals at friend's homes when I was growing up. Latkes were a big deal, as were other fried foods but brisket was definitely served when guests were coming.

                  1. re: iluvcookies

                    Out of curiosity, what region did you grow up in?

                    Latkes are meant to be the meal itself, not just a big deal. Using frying oil as the focus of the meal is considered part of observing the holiday.

                    Nothing says you can't garnish it with a slab of beef, if you want. There's just nothing that makes brisket any more traditional than lamb, because these are just your personal family traditions. I do see from google that there are a fair number of recipes for a "Chanukah brisket", so it is a real thing for some families.

                    1. re: sugartoof

                      I grew up in NYC (Manhattan/Queens)... It seems like the brisket was considered "company food" by several of my friend's families, and they had a lot of (non-family) company on Chanukah for some reason or another. Brisket and latkes were the centerpiece of what they served.

                2. re: iluvcookies

                  Brisket is Rosh Hashana and Passover food, latkes and other fried food (because it is the Festival of Oil Lamps really) are Chanukah food, Chinese is Christmas food for Jews, Matzoh balls Passover etc..

                  1. re: dyrewolf

                    in israel its fried foods indeed, zalabya , its like a zeppole, chinese jewish xmas food?? wow never heard that dyrewolf you a deadhead??

                    1. re: intrepid3591

                      You've never looked within a Chinese restaurant on Xmas? Not only will it be filled with Asians and Jews, but all pork and shellfish dishes are Kosher! ;^)

                      1. re: zin1953

                        yes, that is actually part of the X-mas miracle is that Jews can eat whatever they want that night without it being a sin. and if it falls on the sabbath, it is still OK to go to the movies... (said by a bacon eating, sabbath driving all year MOT)

                      2. re: intrepid3591

                        Yes, I hail from the Timbers of Fennario (turns out, that is in the Bronx)