Wylie Dufresne was one of New York’s very first star chefs, having essentially introduced the city to the concept of molecular gastronomy. Yet while he made his name on pickled beef tongue with fried mayonnaise, and deconstructed eggs benedict at the pioneering wd-50 (followed by rye and pastrami pasta and clam chowder with dehydrated oyster crackers at Alder), we’re officially in the age of fast-casual comfort food.
So it’s not entirely surprising that the culinary magician has taken a page from his high concept peers — think, especially, Daniel Humm — by dialing things back a tad, and opening an establishment geared towards common folk. His everyman eatery? Du’s Donuts in the William Vale hotel; a casual café and bakery with a major pedigree.
While it’s not shocking to hear that he’s followed a “science-driven” approach to the New England cake donut, Dufresne’s pastries aren’t a tremendous departure from the classic; though he’s notably managed to achieve an admirably light crumb. The fact that glazes and powders remain steadfastly affixed (instead of melting all over one’s hands) is also the result of three months of intense experimentation — the results of which remain a carefully guarded secret.
As for flavors, they’re as inventive as one expects from a contemporary donut spot, nowadays; think Peanut Butter & Yuzu, Honey Fennel Pollen and Pistachio Pink Lemonade, along with a Kaffir Corn Cruller. Dufresne also recently released an egg sandwich, but don’t expect anything approaching the sous vide yolks, frozen bacon wisps, and deep-fried hollandaise cubes la his quintessential benedict. The fussiest execution involves his favorite ingredient, eggs, which are scrambled, cooled on sheet trays and sliced into slabs, but that’s where the fiddly work ends — the only other steps are grilling them between slices of potato bread with processed American cheese.
An older, arguably wiser Dufresne hadn’t lost his flair for the fabulous, he’s just taking fewer pains to produce undeniably delectable food.
107 N 12th St.