Doughnut Plant opened its first Brooklyn branch yesterday and there was definitely no shortage of people, doughnuts, or baby carriages as I entered its doors at 245 Flatbush Avenue that morning. No longer will the simple glazed doughnut with rainbow sprinkles be enough to satiate the ever-growing appetites (and “foodie” Instagram accounts) of doughnut junkies far and wide. The new norm seems to have shifted towards unique fillings, gourmet glazes, and Frankenstein mishmashes of our favorite childhood desserts (donnoli, anyone?), and Doughnut Plant surely does not disappoint.
Starting in a basement-turned-bakery in a LES tenement back in 1994, Doughnut Plant chef and owner, Mark Israel, began making doughnuts as an homage to his grandfather, Herman Isreal, WWI Army baker and founder of the Greensboro, North Carolina bakery, The College Pastry Shop. Since then, Doughnut Plant has evolved into a kind of doughnut empire that includes jelly filled square doughnuts, one-of-a-kind flavors like Crème brûlée, mole, and pomegranate, as well as nine shops in Japan and one in the Chelsea Hotel.
I’ve actually had the chance to visit their LES shop once or twice, but it was always towards the end of the day, which by that point I was left with slim pickings. Not wanting to settle on just any doughnut, I left empty handed, only to find myself going to my favorite dumpling shop across the street (a girl’s gotta eat!) Nevertheless, I soon discovered, as I walked past what was the former Yummy Taco, that I wouldn’t have to travel as far to finally give them a try because Doughnut Plant, like so many of its predecessors, had finally made its jump across the East River.
Walking into its new Brooklyn digs, I was instantly met with a crowd of people all eager to get their hands on one of these treats – each prepared at the LES kitchen and delivered to the Brooklyn location 5-6 times a day – with me wanting to see if they lived up to the hype. Each person working behind the counter seemed to be moving at super speed trying to keep up with the overwhelming demand and even I felt the pressure when it came to choosing what I wanted because there were just so many options! From cake to yeast to jelly filled (even though I stayed away from those), I had one hell of a time making a final decision.
I finally settled on the Marzipan Holiday Doughnut but, overall, I ended up not being its biggest fan. While pretty to look at and fluffy to the touch, the almond flavor was too prominent for my taste and it was just a little too cloying. Something about its texture also threw me off because it was both soft and chewy all at once and towards the end I had a difficult time finishing the last few bites. Maybe there are other flavors I would enjoy, but this one just didn’t take the cake. I’ve yet to find a New York City shop where I go to bed dreaming about the next time I can have one of their doughnuts. So until that day comes, I’ll just to stick to making my own – like my Apple Cider Donuts or these Glazed Yeast Donuts – because after all, homemade is always best, right? 😉