In 2014, Wylie Dufresne closed WD-50, the Lower East Side restaurant infamous for serving diners tasting menus of high-concept, modernist cuisine. A year later, his fancy pub-style spot, Alder, closed in the East Village. Diners and chefs mourned the loss of inventive dishes that made use of fried mayonnaise, freeze-dried powders and meat glue, among other novel ingredients. Where to go now for egg yolk-mashed potato ravioli and fish and chips with powdered malt vinegar?
As of last month, fans of Dufresne can try his mad food science at a donut shop in the William Vale Hotel in Brooklyn. Du’s Donuts is a tip of the hat to his great-grandfather, who made donuts at a diner in Rhode Island for decades. Upon getting word that Dufresne had turned his hand from the bunsen burner to the fry pan, “Good Food” host Evan Kleiman invited her pal Dan Pashman to a side-by-side donut tasting in New York. (Somebody had to do it!) Dan hosts a super-engaging podcast about food called The Sporkful, and joined “Good Food” last summer for a discussion on the particulars of pie. A donut debate was right up his alley: “I love, love donuts. It’s one of my top, top sweets. I try not to eat them too often because they’re not so good for you. But when I do eat donuts, I do not hold back.”
When the morning of our taping rolled around, there we were staring down four dozen rings, crullers and squares of fried dough in the Stitcher studios in Midtown Manhattan, where Pashman records his podcast. On one side of the studio were donuts from the new-school bakeries: Du’s and Doughnut Plant. Facing off on the other were the original gangstas of New York City’s donut game: cardboard boxes tied up with string from Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop and The Donut Pub.
Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop
The Donut Pub
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