Every few weeks, I head down to the Lower East Side to have my hair done by the fabulous Holly Ivey at Fringe Salon. The neighborhood is a culinary wonderland, and whenever I go I try to squeeze in a bit of food adventure. Fringe is right next to Babycakes, the vegan bakery, and I can rarely resist an agave brownie bite. In the summer, I head around the block to Il Laboratorio del Gelato. And, this weekend, I decided it was high time for a stop at Doughnut Plant.
Doughnut Plant, in case you haven't heard, is home to what are widely regarded as the best doughnuts in New York. Mark Israel opened Doughnut Plant in 1994, making doughnuts out of a basement and selling them, wholesale, to venues around the city. In 2000, he opened a storefront on Grand Street, where the doughnuts can still be had, fresh as a daisy and piping hot, every day.
I'd had Doughnut Plant's doughnuts before; they're available all over the city, most notably at Dean & Deluca. They were always good, but I never thought they were something to write home about. I now know that's because - like all doughnuts - Doughnut Plant's doughnuts are exponentially better when they're super-fresh. For this reason, a visit to the actual store, complete with ridiculously long line, is completely worth the trip.
This time around, I ordered an Israel trademark, a yeasted, square doughnut filled with house-made jam (All the jam fillings are made in-house.). This one was also coated in a peanut butter glaze, and dotted all over with little bits of peanut. It was fantastic. Still just slightly warm from the oven, it was squishy and filled with deeply-flavored jam. Since it had only been sitting for a few minutes, the glaze was creamy rather than flaky, and melted in my mouth.
Doughnut Plant also boasts pretty respectable coffee, which you serve yourself - pints of milk are also available, for those who wish to fully recapture the taste of their youth. No matter what your beverage of choice, though, there's no denying that you'll turn giggly and goofy at one taste of the doughnuts.
397 Grand Street
Between Essex and Ludlow