For almost a year, since they opened, I have been meaning to get us up to the larger location of the Doughnut Plant in the Chelsea Hotel. We used to make occasional trips down to the original LES branch, but I have to admit that I usually found myself too impatient with the long line and too frustrated with the cramped space to really enjoy the doughnuts properly. So while the bright and shiny new space might seem a little too fancy-schmancy for die-hards (especially considering its presence in the Chelsea hotel), I really appreciated the quick-moving line, the room to stand, and–even better–the room to sit!
Of course the best bits are the doughnuts! The Doughnut Plant has been officially on the guidebook circuit ever since owner Mark Israel bested Bobby Flay in a throwdown. For years he made his grandfather’s yeast-raised doughnuts–often squared, with interesting glazes and fillings–but now the best known varieties are perhaps his cake doughnuts, the Tres Leches and the Blackout (with chocolate pudding in the cake). We could see why.
Going a little overboard, we got ourselves a half-dozen to sample (cha-ching!): From the cake selection, carrot cake (which tasted exactly like a slice would, down to the cream cheese frosting filling), salty peanut, tres leches and blackout. From the yeast selection, vanilla bean, pistachio, and coconut. The coconut was outstanding (something we already knew from previous visits), but I think I’d recommend the cake doughnuts over the yeast in general. We also tried the Mexican-style churro (different from the kind served in Spain). I agree with many that the Tres Leches was my favorite of all: seemingly simple like a glazed old-fashioned, but so fresh and buttery, and then surprisingly decadent with an injection of evaporated milk, condensed milk and cream.
Oh, nothing like a serving of doughnuts for a healthy lunch. Don’t tell Hudson I said that.