Ratner’s Nostalgic Recipes

17 Dec

I remember Ratner’s on the lower east side

My folks are in town for Chanukah and I invited them over for latkes. My dad’s response? Only if they are like Ratner’s latkes.

So I googled “Ratner’s Latkes” and came across two different recipes. One is for Ratner’s Potato Latkes and the other for Ratner’s Vegetable Cutlets + Gravy.

Ratner’s Famous Potato Latkes

7 potatoes
1 onion
2 large eggs
1/2 cup matzoh meal
1.5 teaspoons of salt
Grapeseed oil

 Peel potatoes and grate into a bowl of COLD water. This is to remove excess starch and makes the potatoes stiff.

Finely grate 1 onion and add to a second bowel. Take 2 eggs and beat well, then add to bowel with the onion. Mix in the matzoh meal, salt and paper.

Drain potatoes, press out ALL of the liquid. If it is wet, the potatoes will not be as crispy as they could be.

Stir potatoes into bowel with the eggs+onion+salt+pepper+matzoh meal.

Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a large skillet and wait until the oil is hot. Use a medium heat.

Drop 1 tablespoon of batter into hot oil and flatten it to around a 4″ pancake and fry each side (slowly). Do not crowd the skillet.

Serve with either applesauce or sour cream – up to you.


Ratner’s Vegetable Cutlets
Makes 12 to 15 cutlets

6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes (about 2 pounds)
1/4 cup butter
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2/3 pound)
6 mushrooms, chopped
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced carrots, drained (see Arthur’s Two Cents)
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can cut green beans, drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can peas, drained
3 eggs
2 cups matzoh meal (approximately)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water for 20 minutes, or until tender. Mash.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat butter and sauté onions and mushrooms until tender.

Pour mushroom mixture into a bowl with mashed potatoes. Stir in carrots, green beans, peas and 2 eggs. Blend thoroughly. Add enough matzoh meal so that mixture can shaped into large patties. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Shape into 12 to 15 patties. Beat the remaining eggs well. Brush patties on both sides, coating thoroughly. Place on a well-greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until lightly golden browned.

Serve hot.

Arthur’s Two Cents: Canned diced carrots seem to be no longer available. Use sliced carrots and dice them.

Also: These reheat very well.

Ratner’s Vegetable Cutlet Gravy
4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 cup chopped celery
1 green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 (1-pound) can tomatoes, undrained
3 cups Mushroom Water (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon mushroom powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons butter and sauté onion, carrot, celery, green peeper and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes

Add tomatoes, mushroom water and mushroom powder. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Mix remaining 2 tablespoons butter and flour and enough water to make a paste. Stir into saucepan and cook until sauce bubbles and thickens.

Season with salt, pepper, and paprika.

Serve hot spooned over Ratner’s Vegetable Cutlets.

Mushroom Water
Makes 4 cups

2 pounds mushrooms, chopped
1 quart water

In a large saucepan, combine mushrooms and water. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until mushrooms are tender.

Strain broth and chill until ready to use. (Remaining chopped mushrooms may be chilled until ready to use in any dish.)

Ratner’s Onion Rolls

24 rolls


1 package active dry yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup warm water 
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
3 large eggs 
6 tablespoons oil
4-5 cups all purpose flour
Egg Wash
1 egg, well beaten, for wash 

1 cup finely chopped onion 
1 teaspoons salt 
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds 
1 cup dry bread crumbs 
1/4 cup oil 


In a bowl whisk the yeast in lukewarm water. Stir in sugar, salt, eggs, oil and enough flour to form a stiff dough. Knead on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl and turn to grease top. Let rise, covered, in a warm dry place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. from the other side.

Punch down and knead on a floured surface and roll dough into a 18 x 24 inch oblong. Cut dough into twelve 6×13 inch pieces. To prepare filling, mix all ingredients in a bowl. Spoon 3/4 of the mixture over dough. Fold 1/3 of the dough over onions and fold 1/3 over again

Place rolls, seam side down, on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten rolls until they are five inches long.

Cut rolls in half.

Brush rolls with the egg wash and sprinkle with remaining onion mixture. At this point, you can freeze the dough for later use

Let rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.

Bake rolls in a preheated hot oven (400 degree F) for 15-30 minutes.

Frozen Rolls:

When ready to bake, place frozen rolls on a greased cookie sheet and let rise, uncovered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Bake rolls in a preheated hot oven (400 degree F) for 15-30 minutes.


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