Upscale Doughnuts Worth Standing Guard Over

By: Ann Limpert

Security officer Benny Barnes agrees: The stash of doughnuts at 2 Amys is tops. Photograph by Vincent Ricardel.

Think Krispy Kreme is the last word in doughnuts? Think again. Come weekend brunch, many good restaurants are putting their spins on the morning confection. Here are the ones worth seeking out—and the ones to skip.

The Best: 2 Amys (3715 Macomb St., NW; 202-885-5700) doesn’t technically do brunch. But on weekends, it’s not unusual for a line to form outside the Cleveland Park pizzeria before its doors open at midday. Step inside and you’ll see why: An extra-large sheet tray lined with homemade Italian-style cinnamon doughnuts sits on a table up front. The soft fritters, dipped in canola oil, are rich with egg and lightly scented with orange. They’re the Armani of doughnuts—simple and perfect, without any unnecessary frills. For $1.50, you get one doughnut and its punched-out hole, and it’s hard not to want more. Once the tray is empty, the doughnuts are gone until the next weekend.

Runners-up: Chef Paul Pelt might be turning out innovative dishes at night, but the most talked-about item at the Tabard Inn’s cozy restaurant (1739 N St., NW; 202-785-1277) is still the weekend-brunch doughnuts by pastry chef Huw Griffiths. For three or six at $1 each, the cinnamon-sugar-sprinkled circles are light and pillowy with a slight sourdough tang. The plate comes with just-whipped cream, but these little guys are fine on their own.

If you fall into the cake-doughnut camp (they’re denser and more crumbly than yeast varieties), head over to Colorado Kitchen (5515 Colorado Ave., NW; 202-545-8280), where chef Gillian Clark fries up batches all through the weekend brunch. The six crumbly rounds, $7.25, are slathered with chocolate, honey and almonds, or old-fashioned confectioner’s sugar.

Stick with just coffee: If you’re going to sell three doughnuts for $10 at brunch, they’d better be fantastic. And while Poste’s (555 Eighth St., NW; 202-783-6060) trio of sugared, yeasty puffs is freshly fried and airy, the leaden fillings (a glob of bitter chocolate, a lemony custard in a dough with too much rosemary) are distracting rather than delicious.

This article appeared in the December, 2007 issue of the magazine.