Recently it feels like there has been an explosion in artisanal doughnut shops in New York City. Doughnuts are the new cupcakes! So while I am by no means a doughnut connoisseur, I thought I would share my favorite two doughnut stores – one specializing in yeast doughnuts and the other in cake doughnuts.
I first visited the Doughnut Project in the West Village after reading about the co-owner Leslie Polizzotto whose background as an art history major and attorney-turned-entrepreneur reminded me of my own. It has quickly become my favorite doughnut shop – I love the colorful graffiti-laden walls, fun atmosphere, and unique flavors.
The Doughnut Project specializes in small batch, handmade yeast donuts, which come in innovative flavors such as bacon maple bar, salted chocolate with buttered pretzel cookie crumble, olive oil and black pepper, beet stuffed with ricotta, and cream cheese glaze topped with sesame seeds, pepitas, sea salt and garlic. The latter resembles an everything bagel and has been getting a ton of press lately. There are also seasonal and weekend specials such as lemon drop and blueberry fritters.
My favorite flavor is the beet stuffed ricotta, pictured below, which is not as strange as it sounds. I love the vibrant color!
Much less cute and far more inconvenient, Underwest Donuts makes my favorite cake doughnuts. The shop is located inside a car wash on the West Side Highway, but it’s worth the trek.
The proprietor of Underwest, Scott Levine, previously worked at Chanterelle and Il Laboratorio del Gelato and his doughnuts also come in some unusual flavors. Rotating glazed doughnuts include dark chocolate, maple waffle, carwash (vanilla-lavender), mulled cider, halva, and brown butter.
The sugar doughnuts are made-to-order in a machine and then coated in cinnamon, coco raspberry, or expresso bean. Or you can get a classic plain doughnut.
The maple waffle doughnut is pictured below, but my favorite flavor is actually the glazed brown sugar.