Monday, August 19, 2013

Round Food for Every Mood (1/2): Doughnut Plant NYC

TL;DR: ★★★★

Oooo, donut heaven. Really great donuts with awesome flavors and variety. Minus one star for being overpriced.

Food: ★★★★★
Ambiance: ★★
Staff: ★★★

Price: $
Number of visits: 4

220 W. 23rd St. (Between 7th & 8th Ave.)

Once again, bonus points if you got the reference in the title ;D (though I have a feeling not a lot of people will understand it...)

Doughnut Plant NYC is also another joint that is very popular and well-known. Every time I go, the store is filled with people, both New Yorkers and tourists — and I can see why!

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the Chelsea location (they have another one in LES) was the cute wall decor located along the left side of the store. I really wish I had snapped a picture of it (I swear I did at one point but can't find it :c) because it is adorable — there are plush cushions shaped and decorated to resemble some of the donuts but not exactly replicate them as they're covered with intricate and colorful fabric. The wall certainly brightens up the room and adds a nice contrast to the rest of the venue, which has a simplistic, black-and-silver theme going on.

Toward the back is where the digital menu (on three flat-screen TVs) and cashiers are located, along with a display case of some of the donuts that are available that day (pictured above). The display case is nice not only because it's fun to look at but also because it gives you a good idea of how big the donuts are. You can see that the cake donuts are significantly smaller than the yeast donuts, and of course, the "doughseeds" are even smaller. Although, I think the case is a marketing ploy to lure customers to buy more — it's easy to get drawn in and be tempted to get one of everything (sneaky bastards). 

The menu — which is kind of an eyesore because it, for some reason, seems a little cluttered on the screens — is definitely very diverse, packed with options for everyone. There are four kinds of donuts: yeast, which is light and airy, filled, same as yeast but with a cream or jelly filling, cake, which is dense and, duh, cakey, and doughseed, which is the Dunkin' Donut equivalent of a "munchkin" — aka a donut hole.

As for the flavors, there are even more options. They have special flavors according to season, so the menu changes quite frequently, but tres leches, blackout and coconut cream seem to be some that stick around all year long. Some other flavors I've seen and/or tried are matcha green tea, blueberry, carrot cake, triple chocolate and vanilla bean. Right now, they're featuring peach-flavored ones (NOM).

 From top right, going clockwise: tres leches, coconut cream, blackout and matcha green tea

I've tried a handful of their donuts, so here's a short rundown of my thoughts on them. Going, again, from my favorite to least favorite ...
  • Coconut cream (filled): Super fluffy and airy dough, subtly sweet yet really delicious coconut cream filling.
  • Blackout (cake): Chocolate cake donut with a chocolate cream filling, topped with chocolate glaze and crumbles. Very rich and chocolaty (duh) but not overpoweringly sweet. A great one for dark-chocolate lovers.
  • Tres leches (cake): Also has a subtly sweet and amazing creme filling but is a lot denser and drier than coconut cream. The overall taste is pretty similar to coconut cream, so I'd go with that since it's bigger and thus a better deal.
  • Matcha green tea (cake): Packed with green tea flavor, which I enjoyed. It's not as dense and dry as the other cake donuts, but it's also not as exciting as the rest.
Overall, all of the donuts I've tasted are pretty awesome, but obviously, some are going to be better than others. I think next time, I'd definitely want to try the carrot cake and creme brulee, which is, apparently, another very popular item. 
I've also had their iced coffee, which is nice — very black and strong. Last time I was here, the (very friendly) cashier told us about how they have a coffee lab downstairs — pretty cool — and how they're planning on selling either Stumptown or Intelligentsia coffee soon. For obvious reasons, major plus!

I deducted one star from my overall rating because these donuts are not cheap for what they are. Of course, they're way better than Dunkin' or any 99-cent convenience store donut, but considering the donuts' size, especially the cake ones, I think they could bring it down a notch from $3.00 to $3.25 a piece. It makes it a little burdensome to try a lot of flavors at once (which I guess is a good thing for my arteries...).

But still, Doughnut Plant is a good place to bring your visitor friends to share a few of the slightly different and creative donuts. I'm sure I'll be going back sometime soon.


  1. With all due respect to the price query, people would pay $5 for the cake donuts if that's what they were selling for. They ARE doing us a favor at $3/$3.25 for the cakes. This is New York City! Forget the fact that they have to pay their rent and workers, these are hands down the best donuts in NYC. Think about the fact that Dom at DiFara's charges $5 for a slice of pizza. I can easily see these prices going up in the future so you should get them while they're still moderately priced. I like your wrap up though, definitely better for our health that theyre not cheaper. Also, with you on coconut cream being one of the best. You need to go back for Creme Brulee, it's hands down the best. So much custard in such a small space!

    keep up the great work on the blog!

    1. Creme Brulee, huh? Looks like I'll make making a trip to Doughnut Plant this weekend...