photo Courtesy Doughnut Plant
Long before Dominique Ansel’s Cronut and Justin Warner’s foie gras-stuffed doughnut at Do or Dine, Mark Isreal, chef-owner of Doughnut Plant, was devising doughnut innovations in the basement bakery of a Lower East Side tenement building. “I wanted to make a doughnut that was not only delicious, but also would be as good for you as a doughnut could possibly be, by using superior ingredients,” Isreal says. By adding fresh fruits and real nuts to the glazes, Isreal created something new. His doughnuts caught on quickly at shops like Dean & Deluca and Balducci’s, and he soon outgrew his small wholesale space. In 2000, Doughnut Plant moved to its current Lower East Side address, luring customers with ever-evolving flavors like matcha green tea, rose, and tres leches. For a supremely decadent treat, try the crème brûlée doughnut, which sports a hand-torched caramelized crust and oozes with real crème brûlée filling. The constant lines enabled a space upgrade and a second location that opened in the Chelsea Hotel in 2011; overseeing nine locations in Tokyo and one in Seoul, Isreal is well on his way to world doughnut domination.