Underwest Donuts

2 Pennsylvania Plz New York, NY 10121 • (347) 952-0079 • underwestdonuts.com

 

Brace yourselves Underwest fans, because things are about to go South. I know it’s bad form to bitch about a donut, after all, it’s sugary bread, what’s to bitch about? Well, hype for one. I mean, I haven’t fallen this far from the hype tree in a while. What am I missing? Is it because it has West in the name that somehow people think there’s an affiliation with Westworld and therefore must be brilliant?

Regrettably, about the only thing these donuts have in common with the hit HBO series is that when you’re done, it’s not quite as satisfying as you would’ve hoped.

I tried several different flavors too, strawberry, helva and brown butter, but it pains me to say that they were imperceptibly different from one another, each tasting like a bag of sugar with food coloring. I honestly think Dunkin’, Krispy Kreme and even Entenmann’s are better options. And cheaper.

But if it’s fancy dough you crave, try Peter Pan in Brooklyn or The Doughnut Plant in multiple Manhattan locations. Both are amazeballs and make Underwest seem underwhelming by comparison.

Gourdough’s

1503 S 1st StAustin, TX 78704 • gourdoughs.com

This place has a sense of humor about it from the name, a play on the Spanish word gordo, which means “fat,” to the guy inside the Airstream dishing out jokes about as freely as they dish out calories. Even the menu items are one pun after another, and the price, while steep for a donut, is diffused by the light-hearted declaration in the form of pennies, which makes everything sound cheaper.

As a base, the donuts are not your cake-like variety. They are more akin to Krispy Kreme when they come hot out of the oven, the sweet dough evaporating in your mouth almost as if it were cotton candy. But what makes these donuts truly muy bueno is the stuff on top.

Exhibit A. The Squealing Pig. A shot put-sized doughnut smothered in cream cheese icing and strawberry jalapeno jelly, then topped with even more jalapeno’s of the candied variety and as the name would suggest, bacon. It’s about five different kinds of wrong that somehow come out tasting so very right. And I’ve had my share of bacon donuts in my past, but this one beats the livin’ pork out of ‘em!

My other fav was the Funky Monkey. Again with the cream cheese icing, but this one is topped with freshly grilled bananas and brown sugar. Just W-O-W-!

In third I would give it to Sara’s Joy. This time with a fudge icing, coconut filling and shaved coconut on top. Now I have no clue who Sara is, but I like the cut of her jib. And the topping of her donut. She apparently has a soft spot for coconuts and eating killer donuts that make your stomach its bitch.

Coming in a strong fourth, the Son of a Peach. Almost as fun to say as it is to eat. Blessed with a cake mix topping, filled with peaches and dusted with cinnamon. It’ll do ya right, and by that I mean you will feel like a donut just had its way with you. Granted that’s pretty much true of any of them. Every last one of them is a beast, so bring a big appetite if you want to tame it.

Dynamo Donuts

2760 24th St. San Francisco, CA94110(415) 920-1978dynamodonut.com

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Having heard such rave reviews of this place, including on “Best Thing Ever: Bacon,” we went VERY out of our way to go. After all, it’s not exactly located in the middle of it all, which is a nice way of saying no place I would ever go again unless I was at gun point. So, considering the effort, I wanted these donuts to at least meet me halfway. Well, regretfully they fall miserably to the bottom of the hype bucket.

I think the best way to describe the depths of disappointment would be to start with the dough itself, which is actually quite dry compared to the rest of doughnut stardom. And last I checked, “dry” is very rarely a good thing when it comes to food. So, it would seem that Dynamo tries to cover this up using “dynamic” flavors. Unusual flavors. Especially in donut land. For example the bacon maple or the lemon pistachio. And while these may sound good in theory, in practice they start to come off as more of a gimmick. More like jelly beans flavored like hamburgers and buttered popcorn.

But, if you like eating parlor tricks, be my guest. I’d rather eat at Dunkin’ or Krispy Kreme.

2 teeth

Doughnut Plant

379 Grand St. New York, NY 10002 (212) & 220 W 23rd St. New York, NY 10011(212) 505-3700doughnutplant.com
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While the cronut place is busy sorting out its health code violations, fret not. One bite of the Crème Brulee Doughnut and you will forget all about it. In fact, you’ll want to have your mouth’s jersey retired, because it has achieved all it can in the world of doughnut greatness. That said, should wish to venture on, the options of awesomeness are aplenty at The Plant (just not quite as “wet your pants” amazing as Crème Brulee).

The next best for me would be the Carrot Cake Doughnut. You might not wet your pants, but it is highly possible that you could start weeping uncontrollably.

After that I’d say it’s a toss up between the incredibly creamy Tres Leche, the Coconut Cream or the comforting PB & J donut.

The only miss for me was the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Doughnut. Not that it was bad, but let’s just say I’d rather grab a classic Krispy Kreme.

5 teeth