UMAMI MART MATSURI FESTIVAL
Preface:
Loisaida Throwback Crawl: Kossar's Bialy

The Doughnut Plant is just a few doors down from Kossar's, so how could we not make a stop? Shamefully, as with many of the stops we made throughout the day, this was my very first time there... EVER. Why do you think I suggested to do this crawl? So many gems down there that I had never been to- after six years in NYC, it was time to explore.

The Doughnut Plant has a delightful history worth sharing. The propieter, Mark Israel's grandfather was stationed in Paris during WWI and worked in the army's bakery. Upon returning to the US, he opened his own bakery, and made donuts with his own recipe. Here's a pic of him, proudly framed in the shop.

Fast forward to 1994 when Israel opens The Doughnut Plant in the basement of the LES Tenement Building, using his grandfather's donut recipe. How wonderful is that!!! He hustled hard, making donuts by night, delivering them by day.

Today, the Plant resides on Grand Street, and has become a LES mainstay. The love has spread globally, and the Plant now boasts more than a dozen locations in Tokyo, and a new one in Seoul. Ironically, there is only the one in NYC. There's something comforting in that, though.

FYI, the Tokyo shop makes bagels using Israel's grandmother's recipe. He should start that in NYC as well- why not?

The place was super packed when we were there on Sunday around noon.


The menu is divided by yeast and cake doughnuts, the yeast ones being the fluffier version. Had no idea. NO TRANS FAT!!!


Peeking in through the slits, into the kitchen.


There are benches in the window with these wonderfully colorful round rings. I'm reading on their website that Israel's father handmakes all of them!


Alright, on to the doughnuts. They make such imaginative, quirky-flavored doughnuts, which gets so much love and press.

Todd: Every doughnut I have ever had from the Doughnut Plant has been very good and they deserve their fine reputation. I really liked the Meyer Lemon (below) and Hazelnut ones I had this time. They do get stale very fast. I don't like buying them from anywhere other than where they are made, they tend to be stale (they have a sizable wholesale business, Zabar's and Katch coffee among other places).

Meyer lemon cake doughnut.


Cream-filled cake doughnut. Is this the Tres Leches??


PB&J doughnut!


Coconut doughnut.


Introducing the doughnut darling of the day: Creme Brulee.

Christy: I especially enjoyed my creme brulee doughnut, it was so adorably miniature and the crispy sugar on top was a treat.

Kayoko: According to the NYTimes, he handpipes the creme into the doughnut, tops it off with sugar, and then blowtorches it, making the sugar crunchy and a bit burnt. GENIUS!

Here's my personal favorite: The CHURRO!

The website says that Israel started making the churro in 1999 after a trip to Mexico. Again, genius. They were crispy, not too doughy, perfectly fried. Mmmmm... If I lived near The Plant, I would gain 50 pounds cause I would get this combo above of churro and coffee every morning.

Daniel with his two babies.

But hold up, not everyone was a fan. Paystyle says, "Ehh. I don’t see myself making that a destination. So-so tasting donuts, points for inventive flavors. Truth be told I’d enjoy a fresh glazed Krispy Kreme more."

As counterpoint, I leave you with wise words from Josh: "Creme Brulee doughnuts forever."

Make sure to check out the Plant's website, which is chock full of great information and history. Be back tomorrow for The Pickle Guys! Check out all previous Umamiventures here. Thanks to Christy, Michelle, Jill and Jessie for the pictures. Make sure to join the UM Facebook group to stay updated on all future Umamiventures.
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7 comments

  • eeew krispy creme for the epic lose! hearing paystyle say that confirms what i already know: i'd love the doughnut factory… i mean, a coconut-filled?!? a pb&j? mmmmm… heaven. :D

    kayce. on

  • maker’s mark filling? actually some sort of liquor would be damn good, LOL… the perfect pick-me-up ~ like the doughnut version of tiramisu!

    and yeah, the global popularity of krispy kreme totally escapes me… i know doughnuts are supposed to be sweet, but they’re nothing BUT sugar. teeth hurt

    (sidebar) strongly considering sending them an email suggesting an ATL location. eight in tokyo, but not ONE in my neighborhood. shame. :))

    kayce. on

  • Paystyle doesnt like em because theres no maker’s mark filling.

    It’s sad that there are still lines for Krispy Creme in Tokyo. Yet Donut Planet is empty, partially because they put them in depachikas and surrounded by Pierre Herme, Sadaharu Aoki, Alain Ducasse bakeries.

    The tres leches at Donut Planet is so damn good.

    Ricky on

  • correction: I meant “filled,” not “willed,” w/fresh fruit, though the donuts did seem to marry so naturally w/the fruit as if they were willed that way.

    Paystyle on

  • Ricki – LOL, that was a good one regarding the Maker’s Mark filling, but untrue. I wanted to dip them in Maker’s!

    Kayce – You risk becoming predictable with your disdain of all things corporate. Remember, if something tastes good…it just tastes good. The converse of that also holds true.

    Donut Plant was good and I enjoyed it, I just didn’t think it was great, though I gave them points for having creative flavors. A freshly glazed Krispy Kreme just melts in a delectable way.

    But the best donuts I’ve ever had were from neither of these places, but from The Donut Man in SoCal off route 66. In addition to the usual suspects, they offer donuts willed w/fresh strawberries or peaches, depending on the season. Amazing when you realize it’s a very old establishment.

    Paystyle on

  • kayce – You have clearly misunderstood my initial comment. Never did I intend to make any broad or deep statement regarding globalization nor level of fondness of it.

    I was merely being playful, in the same manner as the back-and-forth banter that took place between us in other posts on UM, Twitter, as well as your own blog in the past.

    Perhaps had I used emoticons and the like, my intention would have been more evident, however that’s simply not how I write.

    I hope that clarifies all that needed clarification.

    Paystyle on

  • actually, paystyle, i didn’t mention hating krispy kreme because they are corporate ~ i mentioned kk’s “global popularity” b/c the fact that ppl love those nasty doughnuts is mind-boggling to me, NOT b/c i am anti-globalization. i am actually on team dunkin, which is just as corporate as kk if not more. i hate kk b/c (as i said) their doughnuts are too sweet for me.

    in the future, pls don’t read into my comments anything that’s not there… i recognize that there could have been multiple meanings to the “global popularity” sentence, but the rest of my comment adds much-needed context. i didn’t go on an anti-globalization rant, i said the doughnuts were too sweet. you get what you look for and it seems like you’re looking for me to blindly hate on all things corporate. anyway, you know what they say about ppl who ASS-U-ME, so i won’t repeat it here; however, i DO regret wasting my time making a nice comment earlier. won’t make that mistake again.

    kayce. on

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