Didn’t think the words gourmet and doughnuts could possibly go together? It’s entirely possible at the Doughnut Plant located at 379 Grand St. in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Flavors like Vanilla Bean, Roasted Chestnut, Cranberry, and their rich Valrhona Chocolate are all made with no trans fats, preservatives, artificial flavorings, or eggs. Glazes are concocted on site using seasonal fruit, and fresh roasted nuts instead of loads of icky sweet sugar and corn syrup. The flour is custom milled to exact specifications and the fry oil is changed daily. Twice a week, owner and founder Mark Isreal visits the local greenmarket for seasonal glaze ingredients like strawberries, white peaches, ginger, pumpkin, and apricots.
These yeast-raised morsels are lovingly covered in a handful of rotating flavors including seasonal specialities like roasted chestnut in November, rose petal around Valentine’s Day, lime doughnuts for St. Patrick’s Day, and a blueberry striped version during baseball season. Being a jelly doughnut freak, their signature Square-shaped variety filled with organic raspberry or strawberry is my favorite. Porthole windows cut into the wall separating the shop and kitchen give you firsthand viewing of the rolling, dipping, and glazing action. Mark began making these doughnuts in his apartment using his grandfather’s century old recipe delivering them on his bike to small downtown cafes. Now, donuts usually last until 2 p.m. in his store so if you miss them here, they are also sold at Zabar’s, Citarella and Dean & DeLuca.