doughnuts glorious donuts
review from King Arthur Flour website
Doughnut Plant – New York City
While it is certainly no longer a secret, Doughnut Plant on Manhattan's lower east side is not a destination for most visitors to NYC. However, if you are walking east down Grand Street through Chinatown and happen to go a little too far, you will end up at 378 Grand which is home to New York's Doughnut Plant. What you would never realize by looking at this modest shop is that it has seven sister stores in Tokyo, Japan.
Doughnut Plant-NYC was started by Mark Israel in his apartment in 1994. He started out by delivering his doughnuts on his bicycle throughout lower Manhattan. As word spread he quickly outgrew the kitchen in his apartment and moved into a converted space in the basement of his apartment building. Shortly thereafter, with fame for his doughnuts spreading he opened his first "real" shop on Grand Street.
I have been eating these doughnuts for a few years now, and they are incredible. I'll be perfectly honest: I hate most doughnuts. But these almost defy the doughnut definition that we have come to know. First, Mark uses King Arthur Special Flour. KA Special is mostly used for breads. But this flour, made from hard red spring wheat with moderate protein, gives these doughnuts their characteristic chew. The interior is a creamy color, not white like so many other doughnuts made from bleached flours. But what really sets these doughnuts apart are the glazes. My favorite is Vanilla Bean, but Mark uses many natural flavorings that are bright and often seasonal.
Recently, Doughnut Plant added jelly-filled doughnuts. These are not what you think they are. First of all, they are square, with a hole cut out of the center. These doughnuts are engineering marvels. Instead of a glob of jelly injected into the center of the doughnut, like most, there is jelly all around the interior of the doughnut. So every bite contains jelly - not too much, not too little. They are a delight to eat.
In 2004, Mark and his partner Jun Goto opened their first shop in Tokyo. They now have seven shops, with at least three more planned by year's end. I traveled to Tokyo recently to check out these shops. I was very surprised. They have managed to duplicate the Doughnut Plant-NYC experience but in a Japanese sort of way. They have all the regular doughnut offerings that the New York store has, but they also serve an "Uguisu-Mame and Soybean Flour Bun" (I must confess I don't know what that is, but you can see a picture on their website). They are using KA Special in the shops in Tokyo, but they are also using the same equipment and processes. So the end result is that whether you're in the original Doughnut Plant in New York or the new stores in Tokyo, the taste and experience is virtually the same. Even if you aren't traveling to Japan soon, you can still check out their shops in Tokyo via their website.
— Tod Bramble