Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Churning Out Winners at the Doughnut Plant

Sunday was such a gorgeous day that upon stepping outside, Rob and I immediately abandoned our movie theater plans to wander aimlessly around in the (finally) rainless day. Not knowing where we were headed, we followed our feet down Greenpoint, into Williamsburg, and across the Williamsburg bridge. Before we were halfway across, I think we both knew what stop was next. Last time we were on this bridge, it was a Sunday afternoon. We were in a car with Adib and Kelly. And we were headed to the Doughnut Plant.

I'm not a donut connoisseur by any measure of the word, so you can bet I wouldn't know a good donut from a bad one. So I have to wonder that if a place so consistently crowded (like the Donut Plant) is actually good or just clever hype. I've examined my donut statistics and come up with a
few interesting, if meaningless, pieces of info. First, I've noticed a trend: people flock to places where they spell "doughnut" the longhand way. I guess it makes it look more traditional, and therefore more desireable? But these donuts are
anything but traditional. Some of their donuts are even square. Edgy, right? I don't think I'm giving them enough credit. New Yorkers are generally uninterested in gimmicks. I think this place has genuinely earned its true fried dough wings on product alone.

Well, strange marketing speculation (and my inner monologue rambling) aside, these donuts (or doughnuts) are pretty darn good and might be worth the hype. The consistency is different from any donut I've had before because of its chewiness. It resists your bite better than any Krispy Kreme ever did. The dough themselves are not very sweet, but the sticky glaze on top makes up for it and reminds you of what you're eating. It's not so much that it's the best I've ever had. It's just donut, redefined. And the flavors are not typical either. Where else can you get a PB&J filled donut?

On our last visit, we tried the myers lemon glaze (sweet and bitter at the same time), the vanilla bean glaze (my personal favorite), and a chocolate cake donut (I'm not a cake donut fan). This time we tried the cashew. The dough again is what surprises you, I want to call it "extra chewy" but I know that's not right, so I'm going with "slightly springy" and "donut al dente" for lack of a better phrase. The cashew-studded glaze, though, was forgettable. Next time, I'm trying the creme brulee. The only reason we didn't get it this time is because its literally the smallest donut they have, but they sure rave about them on yelp.

Unfortunately, this place is really tiny, so if you don't get a spot on the bench outside you're SOL, that is of course unless you have a friend to drive you back over that bridge.
The next step, obviously, was to make our way down to Chinatown for some pork soup dumplings at Nice Green Bo. Still a great bargain and decent dumpling, but I'm open to suggestions on a new pork bun spot if anyone has any ideas.

Doughnut Plant
379 Grand St
(between Essex St & Norfolk St)
New York, NY 10002
(212) 505-3700

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