The annual Chanukah pilgrimage in search of great donuts went to Brooklyn again this year. Due to the horrible tragedy that struck the Satmar community in Jersey City, NJ a few weeks ago, the first leg of the trip was in Williamsburg where the Satmar community has a large presence. We set out to try the donuts of seven different bakeries of which two were standouts. Later we headed to Boro Park where we sampled four bakeries which were all very good.
Oneg Bakery, 188 Lee Avenue
The best donuts of Williamsburg were at Oneg Heimishe Bakery.
The store is small and the selection of donuts is limited but that says nothing about the quality of the food. The caramel and custard filled donuts were outstanding. They were overflowing with delicious centers which were very tasty and not too sweet. The dough was light and the icing was very good. An overall rating of an 8. Considering that the donuts only cost $2.00, lower than many others, if felt like a 9.
Oneg also was the only bakery we visited that carried “frittle,” essentially small and light pieces of fried dough with sugar which are made only on Chaunkah. They were quite good. May I add that the babka from Oneg is among the very best in New York.
Black and White Bakery, 520 Park Ave
The Black and White Kosher Bakery is not that close to the other bakeries but worth the trip. There is a mix of dairy and pareve donuts, plain and fancy, with prices ranging from $1.75 to close to $5.
The donuts were heavily filled with the taste of the fillings getting a range of reviews from amazing to just OK. The dough was very good, perhaps not as good as Oneg due to the freshness of when we arrived (jelly donuts decline in value as rapidly as a BMW). Overall an 8.
Traditional Kosher Bakery, 123 Lee Ave.
A very simple store with a simple name. It serves a number of non-baked items as well as some other baked goods including a cinnamon stick (OK) and a nut/craisin/cinnamon loaf which was terrific. The plain jelly donut had a very tasty raspberry jam but the dough was tough, heavy and thick. Overall, a 6.
Steinberg’s 701 Bedford Ave.
Steinberg’s exterior has no signage whatsoever. The store is clean and decent size with a pretty good selection of donuts. Some of the jelly donuts were assembled in sandwich-format rather than center infused.
The donuts had a very nice amount of filling, but unfortunately, not that tasty. The icing fell apart and onto the floor on first bite and the dough was not that fluffy. Overall rating of 5.5.
Kaff’s, 73 Lee Ave.
Kaff’s was one of the largest bakeries we visited in Williamsburg and they had a nice selection including two fancy choices with elaborate toppings. Regrettably, the dough was too heavy and the filling, while plentiful, was not on par with the presentation. Overall score of a 5.
G’shmak 164 Wallabout Ave.
G’Shmak was a real disappointment. While thrilled to have a halavah donut which had great flavor, everything else was lacking: The donuts had very little filling and the dough was very heavy. Huge piles of garbage near the entrance did not add to the experience. Overall rating 3.
Sanders 159 Lee Ave.
We stopped into this nice store – twice. Each time we were told that donuts were about to be ready, and each time kept waiting. On the second visit, the person at the store said that he had three small donuts in the back which he could give us, and after five minutes he confessed he had none and that we should return yet again. Nope. Gets a 0. The gluten-free cookies were also not great.
Boro Park bakeries had a much better consistency of high quality donuts than Williamsburg. I would recommend any of the four we visited. Here they are in rank order:
Gobo’s, 1524 New Utrecht Ave.
Gobo’s is a new addition to the Boro Park donut crawl and it did not disappoint. They have a different kind of jelly donut which is based on a churro, a cinnamon fried dessert. It was magnificent, with a slightly crunchy exterior, light and flaky dough, with a light creamy inside. An incredible treat and different than every other donut on the crawl.
The more traditional donuts were also very good with excellent dough, heavily filled. Toppings and icings remained on the donut. Overall rating of a 9.0.
Sesame, 5024 13th Ave
We typically go to the Sesame in Flatbush, but decided to try the location in Boro Park due to the proximity of our other stops. The bakery was a knock-out, just like the Flatbush location.
There are dozens of flavors to choose from, including unusual ones like pistachio. The donuts score at the top of the charts in every category: delicious and plentiful fillings, light and tasty dough, flavorful icing that is not overly sweet that stays atop the donut. An incredible treat, whatever flavor one tries. Scores a 9.0.
Taam Eden, 4603 13th Ave.
Ta’am Eden has long been a subtle favorite, a great counter-balance to Sesame. Both have fantastic dough and tasty fillings, but Ta’am seems to not want to overwhelm. The donuts seem smaller than Sesame and the filling doesn’t ooze out all over the place. But such amazing flavor, with new options like Passion Fruit and Pina Colada (seems like you can get some vitamins in donuts these days). The toppings were perfect in that they were very flavorful and remained in place. Overall an 8.5.
Weiss Bakery, 5011 13th Ave.
Weiss is simply an all-around great bakery. Compared to the other stores like Sesame which basically only serve donuts on Chanukah, Weiss adds donuts to its delicious repertoire, but doesn’t try to redefine its store.
The donut fillings are full and very tasty as were the toppings. The dough was not on par with Ta’am Eden or Sesame, and therefore got an overall score of 7.5. However, the store was handing out donuts to children who participated in a Boro Park scavenger hunt, worth an extra point for being a great member of the community!
Here is a chart summarizing the ratings for the 2019 Donut Crawl. Feel free to share the article and peruse and share the other articles on First.One.Through which focus on Jews, Judaism and Israel.
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