Monday, November 21, 2022

Eating in New York: Potato pancakes at a Ukrainian diner in the East Village

 When doing my New York City dining option research, I did identify a few breakfast options. But with the long trek into Manhattan from Newark and my enjoyment of sleep, I only made it for the first meal of the day once: a Veterans Day trek in the rain to the Ukrainian section of the East Village for breakfast at Veselka, a Ukrainian diner.

After a few subway transfers and several blocks walked on rainy Manhattan streets (I was damp all day) I ended up at Veselka, which I could tell would be a popular and trendy brunch spot but luckily I got there before peak hours. I was quickly shown to a table and looked over the menu while doffing my wet outer layers.

The menu scan was perfunctory though as I had previously scouted it online, as is my habit. I was here for the latkes or, as they were identified on the menu, potato pancakes. My only question was a single pancake with something else, or a plate (multiples). While I debated some side protein, in the end I decided for carbs to fuel all the walking I would so this day and got the plate.

I received three potato pancakes, and two cups each of apple sauce and sour cream. The sides complemented the latkes well but I grew up on my Mom's cinnamon-heavy homemade apple sauce, so this (likely canned) version with no cinnamon wasn't my jam.

While the pancakes were OK, they weren't quite my jam either. I started experimenting with latkes for weekend pandemic breakfasts and have settled on a recipe with egg, flour and onion cooked in butter than I really like. So my first reaction was these weren't buttery at all. Now, I know my version is definitely not authentic, but it's what I've come to like. 

They were, however, well crisped, though lacking in much flavour without the sauces. After experimenting, I settled on combing both sour cream and apple sauce with each bite and quite enjoyed it. 

And they were definitely filling. Two and a bit and I tapped out, paying my bill and venturing back out into the rain to catch a subway uptown. I'd go back, but it will be during lunch hours for pierogies. 

All the pierogies.

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