The Festival of Bites: New York Hanukkah Special Menus

Step aside, Christmas and New Year’s. There’s a big kid in town who’s ready to revel in his blue-colored spotlight. Starting today, and for the next eight days, it’s all about Hanukkah special menus. At restaurants across Manhattan and Brooklyn, gobble up free latkes, latkes in every variation never-before known to man, and lots and lots of donuts. Jelly and cream-filled donuts. So say your prayer, light your candle, and commemorate the rededication of the Holy Temple over a heaping platter of pastrami potato pancakes, Mexican-inspired brisket tacos, and homemade apple sauce.

Lansky’s:  When you’re seeking authentic, “Grandma-made-it” cuisine, this Old World deli is just the place.  Sidle into the classic dining room, with its 1930s stained glass ceiling and black and white-tiled floor, and mentally prepare yourself for a four-course, $32.95 feast.  Choose a soup (matzo, cabbage, or barley), a starter (stuffed cabbage, sweet/potato kugel, chopped liver, or gefilte fish), and an entrée (brisket of beef, half-roast chicken, and fresh roasted turkey). All entrées are served with a side of green beans and potato latkes, and concluded with a batch of jelly donuts and sweet, sweet satisfaction. L’chaim!
Toloache and Yerba Buena: Mexican food on Hanukkah? I know, it’s not exactly kosher, but when holiday obligations conflict with your after-work drinks with friends, why not have it all! At these two YB & Co. spots, start with the Mexican chocolate and strawberry-infused Hanukkah margarita and smoked whitefish guacamole. Share (or don’t) a latkes trio (potato jalapeno, zucchini, and Mexican ricotta potato pancakes), and brisket tacos with tomatillo salsa. And when you’re done with the roasted chicken-dried figs and apricots entrée, take a bite of the dulce de leche-filled donuts, and watch the “drunk-on-Hanukkah” guilt – and donuts – quickly disappear.
Mile End: This Montreal-inspired Jewish deli set in Boerum Hill gives you a taste of several oceanic delights with their special Surf & Turf latkes: the salmon roe, lox, and whitefish potato pancake, as well as their liver schmear, lamb bacon, and quail egg iteration. For an assortment of tamer latkes, savor the latkes plate, featuring potato, sweet potato-butternut squash, and celery root-parsnip latkes with tart applesauce and lemon sour cream. Still not enough? Then order their signature smoked meat and Canadian poutine: fries doused with fresh cheese curds and gravy. And if you’re still not satisfied, then you really have something wrong with you.
Kutsher’s Tribeca: This upscale Jewish American bistro brings class, modernity, and a different latke to your plate everyday of Hanukkah. Settle into the plush booths and get ready for a surprise. Is today sour cream and pear butter day? Wild mushroom and herbed ricotta? What about smoked sturgeon and caviar? Just like Christmas, you don’t know what you’re going to get (unless you call the restaurant), so come hungry and revel in the simple surprise that lies in these fried little morsels.
Brooklyn Diner: Free latkes! They’re free! Even if you order an $11 Greek salad or a $10 cheesecake, you’re still a patron at this swanky diner, and thereby eligible for their surprisingly complimentary plate of potato pancakes. Choose between sour cream or applesauce, and be thankful that Hanukkah is a whole eight days.