As chicken wing devotees thank Teressa Bellissimo for the hands that created the first Buffalo chicken wings, fans of the truffled Parmesan tater dice at Soho Burger Bar (64 W. Chippewa St., 856-7646, www.sohoburgerbar.com) may come to honor the name Linda Hayes.
Besides giving birth to Jay Manno, Soho’s owner, she also concocted the recipe for his metropolitan burger joint’s Truffle Tater Tots. “It’s kind of turned into a signature side,” said Manno. They’re $7 or a $2 upgrade from the house-made potato chips that come with sandwiches.
His mom came up with the idea of a homemade tater tot, he said, developing the recipe and process before he and his cooks added the finishing flavorings.
Freshly shredded potatoes are mixed with shallots, garlic, cheese, truffle oil and flour before cooks squish out the water and press the mess into sheet pans. Partly frozen, the sheets are cut into bite-sized cubes and dominos. “When they come out of the fryer we hit them with Parmesan cheese, parsley and then truffle salt,” Manno said.
The result is more dense hash brown cake than potato puff. Then there’s all the corners, making the comparison to tots approximate. But there’s no arguing with the flavor, or the fact that the dice stay crunchy longer than the hand-cut fries.
“There was a minute there that we were playing with them” before customer backlash squashed the experiment flat, Manno admitted. “We didn’t put in as much flour and they came out more like our zucchini fritters. That lasted about two weeks.”
The classic recipe returned. Among tater cube lovers, there was much rejoicing.
FOODIE FIND: Americana Days. 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village (3755 Tonawanda Creek Road, Amherst). Carnival food like corn dogs, candied apples, birch beer and more, plus games, crafts and other activities. 689-1440. www.bnhv.org. $5 admission.