Doughnut Plant

Review by: billyboy

I’d heard of the Doughnut Plant, on the Lower East Side, years ago; had even tried their doughnuts from the local stores that carried them. But nothing prepared me for the full-on experience of eating them at the source.

Mark Isreal started the Doughnut Plant in 1994 with his grandfather’s recipes, and he delivered them around NYC by bike. In 2000, he opened up the current shop and he’s been cranking out amazing and inventive doughnuts ever since. They have a ton of flavors, but I like the fact that they only focus on a few things. They don’t “betray their DNA” and try to be more than what they are, as Alton Brown once said. It’s a very small place that is really meant for takeout. They do have two really cool old-fashioned high chairs and a narrow wall shelf where one can enjoy a fried beauty or two. There are also some windows where you can peek into the back and watch them making the doughnuts.

The best doughnut I have ever eaten is the Valrhona dark chocolate yeast doughnut. It reminded of the fried dough I had at fairs growing up, only about 50x better. Soft, warm, slightly chewy and sticky from the glaze, it is an immensely pleasurable eating experience. It would be almost criminal to consume this at anything but a leisurely pace.

Tying for second place are the Blackout and the Tres Leches (three milks) cake doughnuts. The Blackout is a cake doughnut topped with devil’s food cake crumbs and filled with chocolate pudding. I thought it would just be a really really super-moist doughnut (due to the pudding in the mix). Nope. When I tore it open, the pudding oozed out and took my heart with it. Amazing! The Tres Leches is one of Mark’s signature items. When lightly squeezed, the sweetened milk gently flows forth. Both are surprisingly light and incredibly addictive.

Some of the other wonderful doughnuts worth mentioning (and I’ve eaten them many times) are the Meyer Lemon, Peanut Butter & Blackberry Jelly and the “Elvis” (mashed banana filled and coated with a peanut butter glaze!).

The website has a history of the company; even his father is in on the act, overseeing shops in Japan (there are nine of them!) as well as designing and shaping the doughnut motifs for the shops in his special kiln at home. The Doughnut Plant is really doing some incredible things and making some fancifully inspired doughnuts like no one else. They may be more expensive than the average doughnut, but these are on a whole other plane of doughnut existence.

Directions & Hours

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Thursday: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Friday: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Saturday: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Sunday: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM

What To Eat

Blackout Cake Doughnut

Valrhona Dark Chocolate Yeast Doughnut

Peanut Butter and Blackberry Jelly Yeast Doughnut

Tres Leches (Three Milks) Cake Doughnut

Creme Brulee Doughnut


Doughnut Plant Recipes


What do you think of Doughnut Plant?

One Response to “Doughnut Plant”

Josh Shearer

January 18th, 2010

On an early Sunday morning I hit the Doughnut Plant to satisfy a severe craving for donuts on my way into the city for a long day of walking and sightseeing. Being the big donut/doughnut fan that I am I knew that these puppies had a lot to live up to.

I opted for a creme brulee, a Valrhona chocolate, a tres leches, and a coconut creme doughnut. The creme brulee was very good and did remind me quite a lot of creme brulee in general but I thought that it was rather small, especially for the price that it commanded. It had a nice crisp top that you think of when you are getting creme brulee and a nice creamy custard.

The Valrhona chocolate was a solid version of a chocolate cake donut but I thought it could have been a tad more moist, but it certainly wasn’t dry by any stretch of the imagination. The chocolate icing on top did help quite a bit. The tres leches had a very unique flavor that I have never experienced before; it was super-moist and I enjoyed it quite a lot. It had a creamy interior that I thought helped to make it as moist as it was.

My favorite was the coconut creme, as it had a nice coconut flavor on the top glaze and the creme filling did give off enough of a coconut flavor to make it very reminiscent of a piece of coconut cake (a good thing in my book).

All in all I paid $10 for the four donuts and, while I liked them, I can’t say that they fully justified their price to me. They were all good, and very unique, but I can’t say that they would be an every week stop as it would get fairly expensive. I just don’t think the price-to-quality ratio was there. I would gladly stop by again if I happened to be in New York but there are some things that small towns in the Midwest can do better, and I think donuts is one of them.


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