The Plant's newest location, in Chelsea, flashed by me while I was riding a bus down 23rd Street. With giant doughnuts adorning the walls in all colors and shapes, the place looked hip and modern–where the beautiful might go and carefully select just one diet-destroying treat.
I prefer to go further downtown where I can order four doughnuts guilt-free.
There's a small counter with a tower of yeasted doughnuts to the right. To the left is a glass case of cake doughnuts on display. Just beyond the register there's a rectangle cut out of the wall, through which more doughnuts on trays may suddenly appear. When I was there, I had a sudden childish urge to climb over the counter and peek inside the window. I want to know– who is the woman or man behind these giant, wondrous pastries? Is it actually a team of magic elves?
We sampled four flavors (clockwise from the top):
- Crème Brûlée: Although it was the smallest of the quartet, it was an instant favorite. In fact, it turned out that the proportions were perfect. Inside a rotund little oval of yeasted dough, was the most silky pastry cream, redolent of rich fresh milk. On top was an exact replica of the sugar crust that tops crème brûlée. It was just as satisfying to bite down into the bitter shard of sugar as it is to give the traditional dessert its first crack with a spoon.
- Cashew Cake Doughnut: This was the first and only cake doughnut we sampled. Although we enjoyed the sweet nuttiness of the cashew glaze, and the crunchy texture it lent, the cake doughnut didn't compare to the airy delights of the yeasted doughnuts. This is purely a subjective opinion. If you love cake doughnuts, you would most likely love this one.
- Coconut Glaze Coconut Cream: Hands down the star of the show. First, do you notice that the doughnut is square? Now what if I tell you that there's coconut creme filling piped inside of this square? And that's in addition to the gooey, coconut flecked glaze covered the outside. Doesn't it make your head spin? This was the granddaddy of all coconut doughnuts, if not the granddaddy of the entire Doughnut Plant (after two visits it remains my favorite).
- Fresh Mango: In theory this doughnut was the simplest of the four, but that belies it's bright, remarkably fresh flavor. The yeasted dough was more of a flaxen bread of the highest quality than a typical doughnut. Not so much sweet as it was buttery and light. The mango glaze coating the outside of the doughnut tasted like real, ripe mango, fresh from a real mango, not some can of high fructose-infused juice. I would have licked the bottom of the bag where the mango glaze had pooled, if I wasn't sitting in a park surrounded by people.