The fifth annual Lake Festival took over New York City’s Metropolitan Pavilion on Monday evening, Dec. 2, smack-dab in the middle of Hanukkah, and 17 local restaurants got in on the action, turning out some spectacular and creative twists on the traditional Hanukkah staple.
Kutsher’s Tribeca served a Peking duck-topped offering; Veselka’s was topped with braised pork and cherry compote; Mile End served a butternut squash latke with fresh sage; Commerce served a classy scallion latke with farmer’s cheese, smoked salmon, and caviar (pictured); The Plaza Hotel served a duck fat-fried latke with duck confit; Delicatessen’s sweet potato latke was topped with a slider made from ground brisket; Stone Park’s was filled with braised short rib and topped with smoked crème fraîche and sour cherry compote; Toloache served a yucca latke with salmon pastrami; and The Butterfly served a latke topped with sliced prime rib, caramelized onions, and horseradish cream. To top is off, Dough was on hand, giving away donuts filled with either strawberry jam or passion fruit cream.
As delicious as those may sound, the restaurants walked away empty-handed, as the award for "Best Latke — Judges’ Choice" went to Mae Mae Café’s latke with maple mascarpone and cranberry bourbon sauce, and Benchmark took the "People’s Choice" title for its caraway-scented latke with a slab of short rib pastrami, truffled sauerkraut, and mustard crème.
The event featured what must have been some of the most creative latkes ever constructed, and the crowd was more than eager to try them all. If you didn’t have a chance to make it this year, be on the lookout for it next time Hanukkah rolls around.