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Doughnut Plant

379 Grand Street, New York, NY - (212) 505-3700
Posted By Bill Homan on 2/13/2009 10:42:00 AM
I'd heard of the Doughnut Plant, on the Lower East Side, years ago; had even tried their doughnuts from the local stores that carried them. But nothing prepared me for the full-on experience of eating them at the source.

Mark Isreal started the Doughnut Plant in 1994 with his grandfather's recipes, and he delivered them around NYC by bike. In 2000, he opened up the current shop and he's been cranking out amazing and inventive doughnuts ever since. They have a ton of flavors, but I like the fact that they only focus on a few things. They don't "betray their DNA" and try to be more than what they are, as Alton Brown once said. It's a very small place that is really meant for takeout. They do have two really cool old-fashioned high chairs and a narrow wall shelf where one can enjoy a fried beauty or two. There are also some windows where you can peek into the back and watch them making the doughnuts.

The best doughnut I have ever eaten is the Valrhona dark chocolate yeast doughnut. It reminded of the fried dough I had at fairs growing up, only about 50x better. Soft, warm, slightly chewy and sticky from the glaze, it is an immensely pleasurable eating experience. It would be almost criminal to consume this at anything but a leisurely pace.

Tying for second place are the Blackout and the Tres Leches (three milks) cake doughnuts. The Blackout is a cake doughnut topped with devil's food cake crumbs and filled with chocolate pudding. I thought it would just be a really really super-moist doughnut (due to the pudding in the mix). Nope. When I tore it open, the pudding oozed out and took my heart with it. Amazing! The Tres Leches is one of Mark's signature items. When lightly squeezed, the sweetened milk gently flows forth. Both are surprisingly light and incredibly addictive.

Some of the other wonderful doughnuts worth mentioning (and I've eaten them many times) are the Meyer Lemon, Peanut Butter & Blackberry Jelly and the "Elvis" (mashed banana filled and coated with a peanut butter glaze!).

The website has a history of the company; even his father is in on the act, overseeing shops in Japan (there are nine of them!) as well as designing and shaping the doughnut motifs for the shops in his special kiln at home. The Doughnut Plant is really doing some incredible things and making some fancifully inspired doughnuts like no one else. They may be more expensive than the average doughnut, but these are on a whole other plane of doughnut existence.


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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

One of my all-time favorites anywhere.
"One of my all-time favorites anywhere."
Bill Homan





A plate of warm, yeasty, cakey goodness.
"A plate of warm, yeasty, cakey goodness."
Bill Homan


Combined with a peanut butter glaze chock full of chopped peanuts, the cranberry orange jelly doughnut is most excellent.
"Combined with a peanut butter glaze chock full of chopped peanuts, the cranberry orange jelly doughnut is most excellent."
Bill Homan


The cranberry-orange jelly is an inspired choice, but I'm still trying to separate that combination in my mind from Thanksgiving relish.
"The cranberry-orange jelly is an inspired choice, but I'm still trying to separate that combination in my mind from Thanksgiving relish."
Bill Homan


Devil's food with pudding in the middle: inner beauty never looked so good.
"Devil's food with pudding in the middle: inner beauty never looked so good."
Bill Homan


My second favorite doughnut: like a childhood favorite with the volume turned to 11.
"My second favorite doughnut: like a childhood favorite with the volume turned to 11."
Bill Homan


Delicious custard is inside the creme brulee doughnut!
"Delicious custard is inside the creme brulee doughnut!"
Bill Homan


A very good marzipan doughnut, although the almond flavor could be a bit more pronounced.
"A very good marzipan doughnut, although the almond flavor could be a bit more pronounced."
Bill Homan


They do a few things and do them very, very well.
"They do a few things and do them very, very well."
Bill Homan


Even the bench is covered in tiny donuts!
"Even the bench is covered in tiny donuts!"
Cliff Strutz


I've had every one of the doughnuts on this sign and they are all utterly amazing!
"I've had every one of the doughnuts on this sign and they are all utterly amazing!"
Bill Homan


A NYC fixture since 2000.
"A NYC fixture since 2000."
Bill Homan



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