DOUGHNUT PLANT • 220 West 23rd Street • New York, NY 10011 • (212) 505-3700 x220 •

Chocolate, wine, even pizza. These indulgences at the very least come with the paper thin veneer of having at least something healthy about them. Antioxidants or vitamins or calcium. You can fool yourself into thinking that they aren't so bad. But there's nothing healthy about a doughnut. The best thing that can be said about a doughnut is that at least it isn't a macaron. But other than that, it's sugar, filled with berry flavored sugar, covered in a glaze of sugar, with little sugar pellets peppered on top. In a world where we get seemingly endlessly barraged with foods that can give us cancer or heart disease or ulcers or just kill us outright, in a world where spinach might have salmonella, your whole grain burrito might have listeria, or your carrots might have e coli, eating a doughnut is like giving the middle finger to anxiety. It's a giant "suck it" to that coworker of yours who boastfully says "I haven't eaten at a McDonald's in, like, five years." And thus did I go to Doughnut Plant, New York's doughnut factory mini-chain, which offers up wacky flavors, rather than focusing on the kind of stuff everyone else makes. 

Doughnut Plant is not Krispie Kreme, or even Crumbs. Those companies over-extended themselves, only to have been stretched so thin that by the time the next inevitable diet craze swept through, they'd be sucked like a leaf along in its wake. Instead, Doughnut Plant has a handful of locations in NYC (and a couple in Japan) and mostly sells to one-percenter supermarkets like Citarella, and fancypants bodegas like Dean & Deluca (let's be honest, that's what they are). Doughnut Plant also can't be losing money being hitched to Shake Shack.

Like I said, Doughnut Plant has has a bunch of NYC locations. I ventured into the Chelsea one and promptly... did not get a seat. There ain't too many tables in this place, and what few there were were all taken. I placed my order and gazed around. Eventually I noticed that if you squeeze past the napkin thingamajigs, there's a bench hidden over by the window. I plopped down, pulled out a New York Times crossword and indulged. One cannot get a handle on a doughnut shoppe by eating only one kind of doughnut. So I got nine. One for then and there, eight for later. Additionally, I got a cup of the worst iced coffee of all time, which I donated to the storm drain upon leaving.

Above, you will see one of Doughnut Plant's signature square doughnuts (they invented square doughnuts for some reason). Vanilla Bean & Jam. It's like a normal jelly doughnut, but rather than one big pocket of jam that squeezes out onto your lap if you eat it the wrong way, this one has a filling that magically works its way through the entire square loop without evidence of a filler hole. It's hard to beat a classic, and this version was one of the best of the lot of nine. Oh Lord, was it sweet. I got a cavity after just three bites. Bring some Wet Wipes, because that sugar glazing will get all over your hands. Another square doughnut, the Peanut Butter & Jam is literally a peanut butter and jelly sandwich turned into a doughnut. It's amazing, and if you like PB&Js, you'd be remiss to pass on this option. Likewise, if you like creme brulees, the Creme Brulee doughnut is a complete clone of the French dessert, right down to it's hard shell sugar top. Incredible. The last of the doughnut remakes was the Coffee Cake doughnut, which tasted just like a coffee cake, right down to its espresso aftertaste.

Much larger than the standard cake doughnuts is a line of "yeast' doughnuts, much softer and fluffier than the others. I decided to try an old standby, Vanilla Bean, a standard glazed. "For the traditionalists," the menu says. And yes, it fills that roll. It was definitely fluffy. Not bad, but hardly unique from what you might be able to get elsewhere. Traditional. Yummy, but traditional.

Manhattan Cream, their version of the Boston Cream (sorry Yankees fans, Boston wins this time), and the Wild Blueberry, which they say is made from "fresh greenmarket" blueberries, were the next two that I tried. The Manhattan cream was spongy and elastic. It fought being bitten into or cut. Rather than biting through the chocolate frosting and cake to have it erupt a flood of cream (creme?) it... didn't. There was a little something inside, but really, imagine taking a Boston cream doughnut, mashing it up into a paste, then reshaping it back into its proper shape and turning it into rubber. Everything was happening all at once and, sadly, the whole was less than the sum of its parts. The wild blueberry was good though. A good, solid blueberry doughnut. I liked it. I'm not really sure what more anyone can say.

Finally, Doughnut Plant has a few Japanese locations, and the menu reflects that somewhat, with four Japanese-inspired flavors. I tried two, the Yuzu cake, and the Black Sesame Cream. The yuzu was a light, lemon flavored doughnut that didn't really break new ground, and was quite pleasant. The black sesame, on the other hand, is definitely an acquired taste. You have to reeeeally like bittersweet sesame paste. I should have gone with the green tea flavor.

Doughnuts at Doughnut Plant average $3.75 each. Some a little less, some a little more.

Doughnut Plant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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