Lord knows, there are plenty of places to find great donuts in New York, from the old fashioned cake donuts at Peter Pan Bakery in Greenpoint, to the massive, yeast-raised versions at Dough, the adorable, diminutive “doughseeds” at Doughnut Plant, and even a variety of refined bomboloni served with dipping sauces at restaurants, such as Aldea, Marea and Craft.
But one place we’d never expect to find destination-worthy donuts in New York? How about a car wash? And we’re not talking day-old, self-serve Tim Hortons, lined up on dingy racks. Believe it or not, Scott Levine, a former Chanterelle and Il Laboratorio del Gelato alum, has set up shop inside his father-in-law’s car wash (to be specific, in a formerly unused passageway, just opposite the car wash tunnel), located just steps away from the Intrepid Air and Space Museum, along the West Side Highway.
Called Underwest Donuts, the scrappy stand offers cake donuts exclusively, in a small but intriguing roster of flavors. Choose between sugar-dusted options like Coco Raspberry, Cinnamon and Espresso Bean, or sticky Glazed treats, such as Dark Chocolate, Brown Butter, Coconut Lime, or even Halva; baked and brushed with tahini and crowned with feathery ribbons of the dense, sesame paste candy. Wash it all down with a strong cup of coffee, brewed from beans from Brooklyn Roasting Company, or a solid selection of espresso drinks, including Cappuccinos, Americanos, Lattes and Cortados.
It’s undeniably an “only in New York” concept; a restaurant chef opening a single item shop in the unlikeliest of places. But one thing’s for sure — the next time our car is looking even the tiniest bit dusty — we know where we’re going to get it spruced up. Hell, we don’t even need a car excuse to travel out of our way for these Halva donuts.