Latke Lowdown: Guest Critic Eric Schaefer Pits Abe's Against Goldman's
In the Other Corner: Goldman's
The Setup: Stealthily inhabiting a strip mall for more than 10 years, Goldman's is a family-owned restaurant with roots in Chicago. Devoid of atmosphere and pretense, one gets the sense that Goldman's is solely about the food. Their gefilte fish is legendary among Jews-in-the-know.
The Good: Goldman's latkes could make even the crabbiest New York Jew weep with pride; they are a testament to thousands of years of Jewish culinary tradition. Crispy on the outside with a texture that borders on creamy inside, the starchiness of the potatoes is perfectly punctuated with the bite of yellow onions. Each individual element is detectable and works in harmony: potatoes, onions, egg and matzo meal. For a simple dish, these latkes are surprisingly complex and utterly delicious. They make me want to go to Temple again.
The Bad: You're given a choice of applesauce or sour cream -- not both -- although I suspect they'll bend the rules if you ask nicely. As delicious as they taste, they look like they are machine pressed. No latke made at home is so perfect in shape, and these were much thicker than the latkes I'm accustomed to eating at home. But finding anything negative here is really a stretch; it's the flavor that matters and this is latke nirvana.
The Price: $6.99 for three latkes, which a choice of applesauce or sour cream
The Verdict: Sadly for Abe's, this is no contest. Goldman's may lack the glitz, but their latkes make this bar-mitzvah boy verklempt. With the exception of my wife's latkes (hey, I had to say that), Goldman's is the gold standard. I suspect that peace between Israel and Palestine could finally be realized if both sides put down their weapons and sat down over a plate of Goldman's latkes.