9 Great Latkes in Los Angeles

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Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 2:57 PM

click to enlarge Giselle Wellman's latke-esque holiday potato pancake with caviar - PETROSSIAN RESTAURANT & BOUTIQUE
  • Petrossian Restaurant & Boutique
  • Giselle Wellman's latke-esque holiday potato pancake with caviar
Sure, there's fun to be had cooking your own deep fried holiday foods. But sustaining this ritual for a celebration that spans eight nights? Not so appealing. Most households tend to max out at one, maybe two, latke frying sessions, since ventilation methods can only be so effective. And besides, no matter how much a Joan Nathan video demo might make you swoon or a clip that might utterly baffle your grandmother, best to not go overboard on the fried potatoes pancakes anyway.

If you must indulge regularly, or even have just one latke meal, do so wisely. Here are a few places to eat latkes in Los Angeles over the few remaining days and nights of Hanukkah, which concludes Saturday night, Dec.15th. Oddly enough, whether or not a traditional Jewish deli proves to be a good potato pancake source can be a matter of dreidel spinner's luck.

click to enlarge A latke at Susan Feniger's Street. - JESSICA RITZ
  • Jessica Ritz
  • A latke at Susan Feniger's Street.
9. Street:

Susan Feniger stays true to her Ashkenazic roots and makes a damn fine latke when she takes the old school, classic route. Sticking to the tried and true, however, has never been Feniger's way, so this holiday at Street means constant change. Different night of Hanukkah, different latke, folks. If your jam happens to be Indian spiced potato pancake, get on that tonight. The rest of the week will bring purple sweet potato served with pink peppercorn and scallion cream, tobiko caviar; zucchini and potato with spicy dill cream and eggplant pepper sauce; scalloped potato with aged white cheddar and chives; and finally on Sunday night, a red potato latke with smoked salmon, shaved red onion, and horseradish caper cream. 742 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; (323) 203-0500.

8. The Reuben Truck

Parent-taught potato latke making often emerges as a theme. That's definitely the case with Jeff Wedner of the Reuben Truck, who follows his father's method on the recently launched "Jewish deli on wheels." Fortunately for Wedner, his dad owns two delis in Pittsburgh, PA, so this family knows how to please a crowd. For Wedner's Hanukkah foods, unfortunately this means going old school and using a box grater. He then cooks the pancakes on the truck's flat top grill before finishing off each one in the deep fryer. Follow on Twitter (@reubentruck) for location and menu updates. And jump on the latke thing, because Wedner has been selling out.

7. Petrossian:

Mention of Chef Giselle Wellman's interpretation of a potato pancake should be strictly avoided if you have any hardcore, fighting-the-good-fight lefty relatives in the mix. You know, the types who ran in the same circles as Emma Goldman back in the day and are eager to discuss the latest issue of Dissent. Because caviar heaped on top of a tarte aux pommes de terre, AKA a very fancy and delicious looking latke-esque potato pancake, isn't safe for family conversation. This item will not be the foodstuff of the people's revolution. So instead furtively enjoy the bourgeois splendor of Wellman's impressive Chanukah-inspired dish with your own caviar loving comrades. 321 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood; (310) 271-6300.

6. The Larder at Tavern:

While not served in the lovely dining room and rear atrium, the Larder at Tavern has Hanukkah packages to go and no shortage of latkes. A multi-course dinner that serves eight is available for $329, or order potato latkes with applesauce and crème fraîche for $12 a dozen. Other side dishes on the take-out menu to make a slightly more balanced meal include house-smoked fish platter with redwood hill goat cheese and rye toasts, chicken liver mousse with persimmon jam and crostini, and goat cheese and leek tartlettes. (Note: 48 hours advance notice usually required.) 11648 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood; (310) 806-6460.

5. The Kosher Palate:

The Kosher Palate's frying apparatuses will be working overtime at the Sunset Strip Farmers' Market on Thursday evening and at the Sunday Mar Vista Farmers' Market, where last week's latke party will see a reprise this coming weekend. But if you want to branch out past straight forward latkes, then chef/owner Michele Grant offers a menu that includes winter squash with Halegh spice mix and red onions, sweet potato and yam latkes with shallots, coriander and lemon, and celery root and leek latkes. The playing with convention doesn't end there. The first fully supervised kosher pareve (meaning meat and dairy free, so also veg and vegan-friendly) market stand in the state also has a full slate of sauce choices, with Honey Crisp applesauce, sweet and spicy tomato jam, persimmon chutney, Tofutti-based sour cream and sweet cream, and a harissa and zhug topping. Add a quail egg on top for a dollar extra. The Kosher Palate makes sufganiyot (jelly donuts) to further stay on-theme. And Grant will continue to offer latke selections at the Mar Vista market through December. Sunset Strip Farmers' Market, 8755 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Mar Vista Farmers' Market, Grand View at Venice Boulevard, Mar Vista.

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