Since moving to its quiet Littleton neighborhood from Park Hill in 2015, Latke Love, a small business with big flavor, has attracted new fans looking for authentic Jewish fare. Brunch here is a good way to explore the traditional menu of latkes, blintzes and knishes, jazzed up with a few unique offerings that let you know this isn't exactly your bubbe’s spread.
Take the Classic for example: four latkes on a bed of homemade applesauce, but topped with cinnamon whipped cream instead of the more typical sour cream. The potato pancakes, more spherical than flat, are fried to a deep brown (almost too brown, but that just adds to the crunch), and the combination of apple and cinnamon conjure memories of Mom's kitchen.
In other dishes though, the inventiveness steers far from Jewish tradition. The Meshuggah combines shredded brisket and carrots on one side and pulled pork (no!) and pickled red onions on the other. The two meat preparations can be ordered in the Baleboosteh and the Rabbi, I'm Confused, respectively, but the Meshuggah lets you try both. The brisket side is almost like pot roast, with latkes used in place of boiled potatoes, while the pork side is doused in Carollina-style barbecue sauce to add a tangy Southern note. If that's not enough, Latke Love also makes a sandwich called the Jewban, a Cuban — complete with smoked pork and shaved ham — built on latkes instead of bread.
The knishes stick closer to the old-world standard, with a couple of modern twists. The Tradish Knish is simply creamy mashed potato piped into a crunchy pastry and topped with caramelized onions. If you’re craving meat, try the brisket or corned beef knish; with either one, Guinness gravy, green chile and spicy brown mustard are served on the side.
Blintzes are a kind of crepe usually filled with a silky sweetened cheese mixture, and here, too, Latke Love gets creative. The closest to traditional is a blintz filled with a lemony mascarpone/ricotta blend and topped with strawberries and more of that cinnamon whipped cream. Owner Steve Shander describes the impetus for adding blintzes to Latke Love's menu several years ago: “We started out at the Cherry Creek farmers' market, and our dishes were being passed over for more sugary treats.”
One of the first desserts Shander offered was the Campfire, which rolls toasted marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers into a blintz tasty enough to compete with the other farmers' market snacks that kids liked.
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Seinfeld fans will recognize the inspiration behind the Mandelbaum, a blintz filled with cookies-and-cream mascarpone and topped with U-Bet chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Shander jokes that he tries not to roll the crepes too tight to avoid the Dominican situation in the "English Patient" episode of Seinfeld, and adds that you can score a dollar off your order by bringing in a picture of yourself lifting a TV. (If the pop-culture references are flying past you, just watch the episode to understand. Mandelbaum! Mandelbaum! Mandelbaum!)
To make it a true Denver brunch, Latke Love offers mimosas, ciders, a few canned beers and Bloody Marys served with a pickle and a frank in a blanket.
Latke Love is located at 699 West Littleton Boulevard. For more information, visit latkelove.com or call 303-995-9708. The restaurant is open on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tip: Call or check the website before you head over, because the restaurant will sometimes close during normal business hours for private events.