If your aim was to eat clean from Thanksgiving through Christmas, best to steer clear of Bay Ridge and its newest tenant, Darn Donuts—whose aggressively neon, stroboscopic sign flashes out a warning—resistance is futile in the face of deep fried, chocolate-swaddled dough.
Not that their sweets are the best in the area; not even close—being exclusively yeast-based, they’re no competition to the old fashioned cake rings and crullers at the 40-year-old Mike’s, and Darn’s raised donut recipe leaves much to be desired, when compared to the implausibly light-on-their feet orbs at the 50-year-old Leske’s. While the shop purports to bake new batches every few hours, the thick folds of pastry have very little staying power; leaden, lifeless and pockmarked with cold oil, anything purchased towards the end of the evening tastes dangerously close to day old.
Ratio is also an issue—from the “Pretzel,” spiny with salted, caramel-coated crackers; to the “Chocolate Moose,” obliterated in chocolate chips and frosting; to the “Strawberry Cheesecake,” shellacked in vanilla icing and heaped with slithery canned fruit; only the basic glazed is spared from overzealous accessorization. Conversely, there’s precious little filling detracting from the expansive density of that dough—save for a fingernail-sized squirt of marshmallow fluff, piped in the off-center recesses of the graham cracker-capped S’mores, and a paltry schmear of jam, meekly conceding to a mountain of fudge and flurry of peanut butter chips, in the impenetrable PB&J.
That being said, you know how it is with donuts—even the most imperfect amongst them is still pretty ace. And with Hanukah just around the corner (so much for post-Thanksgiving abstinence), there’s an even greater incentive to give Bay Ridge’s newcomer another go. Here’s hoping they loosen up on the reins a tad when it comes to those jelly-packed piping bags.
8723 Fourth Avenue, Bay Ridge