On the Road: Over-the-Top Mashed Potatoes
©PROOF Ken Richardson Photography
Katana Robata and Sushi Bar
8439 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA
This iconic Japanese restaurant pairs its mashed potatoes with pan-fried scallops and yuzu, a type of citrus fruit. The dish is part of the prix fixe "Izakaya" Feast. Katana kitchen manager Raul Salinas says: "The heart and soul of Katana is really Japanese comfort food, and nothing says comfort like mashed potatoes! The scallop is seared just right and adds textural dimension, and the yuzu gravy pulls us back to our Japanese roots. It is the perfect bite!"
Must-Try: Truffle Mashed Potatoes and Yuzu Gravy
By Monica Bhide
David Burke's Primehouse
616 N. Rush St., Chicago, IL
Executive Chef Dino Tsaknis says: "Our side dishes focus on simplicity to not take away from your main course, but to enhance it. Our basil whipped potatoes are made to be light and are flavorful and creamy, without being too rich." After the potatoes are cooked, they are pushed through a ricer for the best texture, then seasoned and whipped with whole milk, cream and butter until they are light and fluffy. When it's ready to be served, this beautiful dish is topped with coarsely ground black pepper and vibrantly green, aromatic basil oil.
Must-Try: Basil Whipped Potatoes
3512 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC
Spiced mashed potatoes? Oh, yes! Indique, a restaurant located in the nation's capital, serves up a South Indian specialty: mashed potatoes cooked with coconut oil, shallots, mustard seeds, curry leaves and chili flakes. "What I love about this dish is its simplicity in making it. With the use of six simple ingredients, the end result is amazing ... the harmonious union of these spices with coconut oil takes this potato dish to a whole new level," says co-owner and Executive Chef K.N. Vinod.
Must-Try: Potato Ullarthiyathe
576 Congress St., Portland, ME (original location)
Thought you had seen it all? Every version of the mashed potato? Well, we have one more: mashed potato pizza! "We wanted to stand out and top a pizza with something that a lot of people like, but wouldn't think to put on a pizza. It was a tough sell at first, but now it's our top-selling pizza," says Mike Keon, OTTO co-owner, of his mashed potato pizza. It features a golden crust, a creamy base, mashed Maine potatoes, smoked bacon and freshly chopped scallions.
Must-Try: Mashed Potato, Bacon & Scallion Pizza, affectionately known as The Masher
820 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL
What could possibly make mashed potatoes even better than they already are? Having them crispy on the outside! The chef and owner, Stephanie Izard, says her dish is a great way to use your leftover mashed potatoes or just add more texture to fresh ones. "The crisp yet light texture of a tempura batter is the best way to turn mashed potatoes crunchy (as it does not add a heavy breading)," she adds.
Must-Try: Tempura Mashed Potatoes with Asian BBQ and Ranch
534 St. Louis St., New Orleans, LA
NOLA is one of Emeril Lagasse's restaurants located in the French Quarter. It features New Orleans Creole and Acadian (Cajun) cuisines with influences from Southern and Vietnamese cooking. The bourbon mashed sweet potatoes reflect the restaurant's eclectic menu. Chef de Cuisine Josh Laskay says: "We roast our sweet potatoes before pureeing them with a nice reduced sauce of heavy cream, butter, sour cream, brown sugar and bourbon. These mashed sweet potatoes are served with our buttermilk fried chicken breast and topped off with a little ham cream gravy. It's a simple, comforting dish, and it doesn’t disappoint."
Must-Try: Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes
603 Bush St., San Francisco, CA
Bouche is a California-French restaurant focusing on small plates and a seasonal menu. The mashed potatoes are given a unique local twist with the addition of Dungeness crab. Chef Danny Murcia says he starts by roasting fingerling potatoes with salt, pepper and olive oil until cooked. Then he passes them through a tamis (a fine-mesh sieve used in professional kitchens) to make sure they are smooth and to peel them at the same time. He adds cream, milk and butter, then whips the potatoes. The potatoes are seasoned with salt, pepper, Comté cheese and a touch of creme fraiche. Finally, the piece de resistance is added: fresh Dungeness crab. "We plate up the potatoes in handmade bowls, top them with more shredded Comté, and place them under the broiler to melt the cheese until golden brown. Finally, we top them with fresh chives," adds Chef Murcia.
Must-Try: Dungeness Crab Mashed Potatoes.
24 E. 39th St., New York, NY
Chef-Owner Jason Hicks serves up serious Bangers and Mash (sausages with mashed potatoes) in a setting reminiscent of a 14th-century tavern. The dish consists of authentic British sausages from Myers of Keswick on top of mashed Yukon gold potatoes that have been prepared with butter, cream, olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh thyme, garlic, bay leaves, rosemary and nutmeg. Oh, wait, there is more: It's all topped with a thick onion gravy made with veal and chicken stocks, red wine, beer and balsamic vinegar.
Must-Try: Bangers and Mash
Hopscotch Restaurant & Bar
1915 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, CA
Chef Kyle Itani prepares this traditional Japanese potato dish with lightly smashed boiled marble potatoes, cucumbers, carrots and a rich, creamy Japanese mayonnaise. He likes to add spicy Japanese mustard to this dish and throws in radishes and daikon sprouts for extra freshness. "In Japan, you would similarly find this style of potato salad as an accompaniment, often in a bento box. The marble potatoes give the salad a beautiful mix of colors, and the texture of the whole potatoes gives some bite to the dish and enhances the overall composition of the salad," says Chef Itani.
Must-Try: Japanese Smashed Marble Potato Salad
The Purple Pig
500 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL
This dish blurs the line between fried and mashed, but we couldn't resist including it. Smashed fried potatoes? Yum! Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr. tells us that the tangy sheep's milk feta and the crispy texture of the fried skin really makes these smashed potatoes stand out.
Must-Try: Fried Smashed Fingerling Potatoes Tossed with Oregano and Sheep's Milk Feta
Images courtesy of the restaurants; Ed Melendez (David Burke's Primehouse); Blake Cole (Hopscotch Restaurant & Bar), Ken Richardson (OTTO)