I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Donut Quest Part Tres: Dough and Brindle Room

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Having a ex-dope head with a heavy Staten Island accent loudly telling the whole subway car her life story will most certainly wake you up

Colorful, Fresh, Tasty Donuts!
The Donut Quest continues! I am still in search and finding the best donut places that New York has to offer and on this quest, there are new places that are opening up and two of the newest and notable are the donuts at the Brindle Room and Dough in Clinton Hill Brooklyn. 

Dough Brooklyn Open Kitchen
First up are the donuts at Dough in Brooklyn. Even before I went to Dough, I already had high expectations and just had the feeling it was going to be good. It is like going to see a Jason Statham movie, even before you go and watch it; you know it is going to be hilarious for all the wrong reasons. But in the case of Dough, the founder Fany Gerson already has a solid reputation working in top pastry kitchens and running La New Yorkina. Her book, My Sweet Mexico is one of my favorite baking books and enlightened me on Latin American sweets and expanding my knowledge beyond churros and tres leche cakes. Dough is located in Clinton Hill right at the corner of Lafayette and Franklin Ave.

Dough Brooklyn, only indication of donut goodness

There is no real signage just a little banner in the window with the name of the place and can be easily overlooked. Except for a few counter side seats, this is mainly a takeout place which is not a big deal because donuts are the ultimate handheld treats. This is not a Baskin Robbins but there is a good amount of donut flavors to choose from and they are all neatly and proudly displayed in the front. All the donuts that they make here are yeast based donuts so if you wanted a cake donut, you are out of luck. They also had donuts holes that also looked good, but I did not get a chance to try them and will have to get them next time. They have the classics like vanilla, chocolate and sprinkles but they stay true to their Brooklyn roots, conjuring up seasonal and local flavors that they are making using the best and freshest ingredients. 

Donuts after the Jump!
I ended up getting four donuts, the blood orange, the hibiscus tea, lemon meringue and the almond dulce de leche. One thing to mention about these donuts that these are big donuts, I can eat half a dozen Dunkin Donut donuts with ease but eating two of these, I am full and have a sugar high. I cannot emphasize how big these donuts are, I have seen children arm floaties smaller than these donuts. These donuts could keep a child afloat and are fun for all ages. At the shop I went I devoured the blood orange and the hibiscus tea donut. After my first bite, I knew it was worth coming out to Brooklyn and hear an ex-dope head rant to a bunch of scared schoolgirls on why drugs are bad. The glaze was pleasantly sweet and full of the blood orange and citrus zing. The glaze had viscosity and was not hard and flaky like a bad spackle job that so many donuts get treated too.

Blood Orange Donut
The hibiscus tea had the floral essence and vibrant color and even had tea leaves sprinkled on top. The tea leaves were a nice touch, further imparting hibiscus essence, but I would not really recommend eating the leaves because it was hard to chew and digest and bit bitter. One of the most important characteristics of a donut is texture and Dough nails it and is currently in the number one spot for my favorite donuts.

Hibiscus Donut

The sheer size of the donut would lead one to think that it would be crumbly, dense and dry but it was the complete opposite. The donut was a pillow of goodness that had the perfect chewiness to it. It is the kind of chewiness that offers a bit of resistance when taking a bite you instinctively careen your head away in the opposite direction. The donut was light and springy and perfect aeration. The best part is that due to some kind of sorcery and satanic dealing, I saved part of a donut for a full 24 hours before shoving it down my gullet and it the texture and the glaze of the donut continued to hold up. 

Lemon Meringue donut- you are not fitting that into your mouth
I ate the other two donuts later in the day. The lemon meringue donut is basically a handheld cake and is one of the few filled donuts that they offer. It is topped with meringue and they actually take a torch giving that characteristic toasted meringue. The lemon curd was balanced and perfectly tart. I almost feel weird calling this a donut because this donut tasted better than lemon meringue pies I have ate and the amount of effort to create such a donut handheld treat is a true mark of quality and high standards.  

Almond Dulce de Leche- still dripping with dulce
The almond dulce de leche was the last donut that I sampled and one of my favorites. They are making their dulce de leche the traditional way with goat’s milk. Most times when I try dulce de leche, it is thick, gloppy, paste consistencies that taste like failed butterscotch. As most things I eat, my expectations are proven wrong and the dulce de leche is creamy, smooth and seductively coats the donut. I am finding myself ripping off bits of the donut and trying to soak up dulce de leche that escaped of the donut and into the container. The crunchy toasted almonds add a nice textual contrast and a deceptively simple donut is a delight to eat. 

I was on a good donut high and later that day I headed back to Manhattan to the East Village to try out the donuts at the Brindle Room. The Brindle Room is not a bakery; it is a bar/restaurant but recently started to make donuts that many are raving about. I get there late in the afternoon and the place is still going strong. I order two donuts from them, the chocolate hazelnut and the chocolate peanut butter. 

Chocolate Hazelnut donut with Almonds
The donuts at the Brindle Room are at the other end of the donut spectrum compared to the ones at Dough. Brindle Room is primarily a restaurant and they are doing fried cake donuts with only 4 choices of powdered, honey de leche, chocolate hazelnut, and chocolate peanut. Brindle Room boasts they added twist of using a dough mixture that utilizes mash potatoes. The usage of potatoes in bread is not discovering fire but it is a clever trick, especially for a kitchen because it gives them a chance to make sure that excess mash potatoes do not go to waste. The added starch that comes from the potato ensures that the donut stays moist and tender.
The donuts at the Brindle Room are like Smart Cars compared to the Hummer sized donuts at Dough. The textures of the donuts are crispy and almost cookie like. Yet inside it is tender, moist and has custard texture. However, although they have high marks for creating a textually magical donut, the rest of the parts of the donut do not add stack up. 

Chocolate Peanut donut

The chocolate hazelnut was tasty yet the chocolate peanut was painfully salty. It is as if they added salted peanuts to the topping and then sprinkled even more salt on top. The donuts I got were fresh and still warm when I brought them outside to eat. However I could not get over how savory the donuts tasted. The issue was that they did taste like potatoes which are what I expected, but it tasted like the frialator. It tasted like the number 2 Mickey D meals in my mouth, it tasted like French fries and meat and made it taste like a croquette. I suspect that it was because I go these donuts later in the day and earlier in the day; I would not get the end of service food grease taste in the donuts. This was a pity because the composition of the donut was tasty but the savory lingering taste of the donut with the sweet toppings ended up in failure. 
The vast number of donuts shops in the city, it is hard for newcomers to standout and produce a good donut but Dough and the Brindle Room have already created a following and I hope to see them succeed and eat more of their tasty creations. 

Dough Bakery in Brooklyn
305 Franklin Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11205

The Brindle Room
277 E 10th St
New York, NY 10009 

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