With the in-your-face spectacle that is Christmas, it’s easy to forget that we’re actually smack dab in the middle of another, albeit subtler, holiday. Saturday marked the beginning of Hanukkah, the festival of lights — except ours comes from eight little candles sitting in a menorah, instead of from a towering spruce tree decked in strand after strand of twinkling LED’s. Instead of jolly old Saint Nick and the sweet baby Jesus asleep in his manger, we remember Judas and his band of Maccabees, bravely battling the Syrian army to regain control over the holy temple of Jerusalem. And while Christmas celebrants the world over are looking forward to a feast of holiday ham, gingerbread, plum pudding, and Buche de Noel, us Jews get to look forward to, well, eight straight days of eating shredded potato pancakes, along with the occasional jelly donut. That’s why we plan to diversify the way in which we celebrate Hanukkah this season, honoring the miracle of everlasting oil with an all-out pig fest of the best darn deep-fried foodstuffs in town.
Fries Sandwich at Man’ouChe
Sure you can order your pita stuffed with juicy, spit-roasted schwarma or savory discs of falafel, but why not take a cue from this Bay Ridge Lebanese spot, and shove a wad of crispy french fries in there instead?
7701 5th Ave, (718) 200-0150
Fried Chicken at The Commodore
Of all the southern-fried specimens fighting for supremacy the borough over, we far prefer the bird at this Williamsburg dive bar — three craggy-crusted thighs topped with hot sauce, accompanied by adorable, flaky mini biscuits with honey butter.
366 Metropolitan Ave, (718) 218-7632
Fried Mars Bars at The Chip Shop
Not a traditional holiday treat in the purest sense, but when it comes to an indiscriminate use of deep-fat frying, Brits and ancient Jews actually have a lot in common.
Multiple locations, visit chipshopnyc.com
Fried Pierogies at Kasia’s
We love the brown-skinned potato pockets at this no-frills Polish eatery — close enough in concept to latkes, and equally delicious served with sour cream.
146 Bedford Ave, (718) 387-8780
Donuts at Dough
Besides potato latkes, donuts are actually a legitimate Hanukkah delicacy, and you really can’t do better than the fluffy orbs at Dough. Tradition dictates jelly, but why not go wild and crazy? We’re ringing in the holidays with hibiscus, chocolate/chipotle, and dulce de leche with almonds.
305 Franklin Ave, (347) 533-7544
Fried Whiting at Bed Stuy Fish Fry
When it comes to small bait, expertly fried, salted, and unceremoniously deposited on a hunk of junky white bread, forget about that Williamsburg poser, Lake Trout — the fried whiting sandwich is still done the best (and sold the cheapest) at Brooklyn’s no-frills soul food houses.
801 Halsey St, (347) 405-9820
Crispy Eggplant with Honey at La Vara
This fantastic new Judeo/Spanish tapas spot has an entire menu section devoted to delectable deep fried things, indicating, one would assume, that they’re an ideal food for sharing. Whatevs. We’re bogarting these molten on the inside crispy on the outside planks of eggplant, topped with melted cheese and black nigella seeds and drizzled with honey.
268 Clinton St, (718) 422-0065
Navajo Fry Bread at Piquant
We haven’t seen or tasted Navajo fry bread since the Native American unit we did in third grade, so we were more than a little excited to find it on the menu of this elegant Prospect Heights restaurant. They serve their puffy pillow of fried salty goodness (like a savory zeppole, but decidedly tastier) alongside a plate of homemade chips and guac. Skip the chips (and on second thought, the guac), you’ll need the stomach space to store an extra order of that ridiculously tasty fry bread.
259 Flatbush, (718) 484-4114
Dr. Goldstein Special at Shelsky’s
You better believe that this Smith Street appetizing shop has got you covered this holiday season (they’ve got traditional, schmaltz-fried latkes, along with vegetarian, gluten-free, celery root/sweet potato and adorable mini versions), but we prefer to fulfill a potato pancake craving with this cardiac arrest posing as a sandwich — two chicken fat-fried latkes encasing a healthy schmear of duck-fat laced chopped liver and apple horseradish sauce.
251 Smith St, (718) 855-8817
Fried Pizza at Forcella
It was only a matter of time before Brooklyn’s favorite foodstuff hit the deep-fat fryer — but unlike the extreme batter-dipped slices sold at the aforementioned Chip Chop, Forcella’s pillowy, crisp/tender and deeply flavorful Montanara-style pies make the extra oil bath seem almost necessary.
485 Lorimer St, (718) 388-8820