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Thursday, October 10, 2013

NYC Doughnut Plant, Carlo's Bakery, Baohaus, Lobster Joint and Clinton Street Baking Company

buttermilk fried chicken and belgian waffles at clinton street baking company new york nyc lower east side

Breakfast for dinner? The Clinton Street Baking Company in New York doesn't just allow it - they encourage it. That means that even after the sun has dipped over the horizon, you can still order pancakes, huevos rancheros (an egg, beans and guacamole breakfast tortilla) or eggs benedict to your heart's content. Or you can order fried chicken and waffles with warm maple butter - like I did.

pancakes with maine blueberries and warm maple butter at clinton street baking company new york nyc lower east side
Breakfast for dinner - pancakes with wild Maine blueberries and warm maple butter US$14

Clinton Street Bakery was opened in 2001 by husband-and-wife team chef Neil Kleinberg and freelance writer DeDe Lahman. Originally conceived as a bakery and small cafe, the business eventually expanded into a seven-days-a-week restaurant operation. Weekend brunches are hugely popular here, with queues regularly snaking around the block.

sugar cured bacon and pancakes at clinton street baking company new york nyc lower east side
Sugar cured bacon US$6

Their blueberry pancakes are one of the hottest items on the menu, and when we dig into Suze's plate, we can see why. The buttermilk pancakes are light, fluffy and softer than a baby's cheek. The blueberry compote over the top adds sweetness, curbed by Suze's side order of sugar cured bacon - not as crispy as we'd expected, but still a porcine delight.

union square market chopped salad lettuce feta at clinton street baking company new york nyc lower east side
Union Square Market chopped salad US$10

We met up with Hannah from Wayfaring Chocolate here -- a serendipitous intersection of international holidaying -- who displayed a bewildering enthusiasm for her Union Square Market chopped salad, all kinds of health and crunch that we presume had been purveyed from the Union Square Greenmarket that day. Crisp lettuce, slivers of radish and chopped baby carrots had been blessed with virtuous sprinkles of sunflower seeds and dabs of feta.

buttermilk fried chicken and Belgian waffles at clinton street baking company new york nyc lower east side
Buttermilk fried chicken, Belgian vanilla buttermilk waffle and warm maple butter US$19

Because really how could you order a salad when there was buttermilk fried chicken and Belgian waffles on the menu? It's a trio of gold on the plate, a puffed up waffle supporting three pieces of golden fried chicken next to a hot tub of warm maple butter.

The chicken is tender with a satisfying crunch although the inclusion of thyme is a touch too distracting for my palate. The warm maple butter is dangerously tasty, soaking up far too easily into the pillowy waffle and fried chicken.

key lime meringue pie dessert at clinton street baking company new york nyc lower east side
Key lime meringue pie US$7

Three girls and one dessert is how we finish, digging into a hefty wedge of key lime meringue pie. The filling is intense with lime, almost to the point of bitterness, but here Hannah shows us why she'd shown restraint with her main - it's game on with dessert!

Lobster Joint

lobster joint dining room new york nyc lower east side

We were staying in the Lower East Side and couldn't believe our luck when we realised we were staying around the corner from the Lobster Joint. There are now three locations of this popular New England comfort food eatery around New York. There's a summery beach house feel to the restaurant with white walls and a sea blue floor. Seating is casual with a fully stocked bar (and tv screens) in one corner.

lobster claw bloody mary at lobster joint new york nyc lower east side
Lobster claw bloody mary US$9

And hey, if you're going to celebrate lobster, why not throw some in a bloody mary? Lex's lobster claw bloody mary is nothing but piscatorial decadence, made with Icelandic Reyka vodka with a wicked peppery kick.

lobster mac and cheese at lobster joint new york nyc lower east side
Lobster Mac'n'Cheese US$17

Lex pairs this with the lobster mac'n'cheese, served in a cute cast iron frypan, the cheese sauce finished off to a blistering tan under the grill.

connecticut lobster roll at lobster joint new york nyc lower east side
Connecticut lobster roll with warm butter US$17

Suze's Connecticut lobster roll is drenched in warm butter, packed into a soft bun. The fries are amazing too, twice (maybe triple) fried until each baton was electrifyingly crunchy. The portion of fries are huge.

new england lobster roll at lobster joint new york nyc lower east side
New England lobster roll with celery and fresh herb mayo US$17

I go with the classic New England lobster roll, piles of sweet flesh mixed through with a lightly herbed mayonnaise. It's a luxurious lunch concept, feasting on lobster in a bun while you perch on a stool. My salad (you can choose between fries, chips or hand-cut crisps or salad) is bountiful too.


chairman bao coffin bao fried chicken sweet bao fries at baohaus new york nyc east village

Do you know Eddie Huang? Taiwanese American, trained lawyer, former stand-up comic and self-confessed "bad boy", Huang opened up the Taiwainese bun shop, Baohaus, in December 2009. In 2001 he relocated from the Lower East Side to a larger site in the East Village. His foodie memoir "Fresh Off The Boat" was published in 2013.

neon signage baohaus new york nyc east village

Baohaus is deliberately ghetto and it works. The blue neon lighting and graffitied interiors are the perfect set-up for the food here - Taiwanese buns steamed and then deep fried to a hangover-loving crunch.

graffiti counter at baohaus new york nyc east village
Dine in counter with customer graffiti

kitchen steamer at baohaus new york nyc east village
Baohaus kitchen

sweet bao fries at baohaus new york nyc east village
Sweet bao fries with black sesame US$3.50

The sweet bao fries are a loose interpretation of "fries". A deep fried mantou bun is chopped up and then drizzled with black sesame glaze, adding a dark nuttiness to the sweet crisp glazed bread with a fluffy centre.

chairman bao at baohaus new york nyc east village
Chairman Bao US$4

The Chairman Bao is Huang's take on the oft-associated David Chang classic. Here the bun is wrapped around a thick slice of braised Berkshire pork belly, sprinkled with crushed peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar and coriander. The pork is soft and tender but I'm not sure about the inclusion of peanuts which seems to interrupt the delicacy of the bun and pork.

coffin bao fried chicken at baohaus new york nyc east village
Coffin bao fried chicken US$7.50

We also check out one of the newest additions to the menu, the coffin bao fried chicken. This one's a clever twist: a deep fried mantou bun opened up and then packed with fried chicken fillets. Coriander, crushed peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar, coriander and condensed milk - yes condensed milk - are then dumped over the entire lot.

This is another super sweet dish but I reckon as a late night post-drinkies pit-stop this might do the trick.

coffin bao fried chicken at baohaus new york nyc east village
Take a bao

Carlo's Bakery

carlo's bakery cake boss buddy valastro new jersey

We couldn't visit New York without visiting Carlo's Bakery. New Jersey is only a short train ride away from the World Trade Centre so Suze and I made the pilgrimage on our last full day in New York.

queue carlo's bakery cake boss buddy valastro new jersey
Ticketed queue to get into the bakery

Our mistake was to try and visit on the weekend. Expect huge queues. Look for the staff member handing out numbered tickets and hope it's not a blistering hot day. I've heard that weekdays are much quieter.

sfogliatelle pastry carlo's bakery cake boss buddy valastro new jersey
Sfogliatelle US$3

It takes us about an hour to get into the store - packed with about fifty customers inside so you can barely see the counters unless you sidle your way through. There's noone from the show there - no Buddy Valastro, Mauro, Danny, Joey, Mary or Lisa. In fact we overhear a conversation where one employee confesses he's never even met Buddy even though he's worked there for two years.

biscuits carlo's bakery cake boss buddy valastro new jersey
Carlo's Bake Shop biscuits 

The shelves are stacked with baked goods but there's also a huge amount of merchandise too - t-shirts, jerseys, cookbooks and more.

beach cake carlo's bakery cake boss buddy valastro new jersey
Beach cake

staircase carlo's bakery cake boss buddy valastro new jersey
The famous staircase that leads upstairs to the ovens and decorating

You can see the tiny consulting table - roped off by barricades - but I'm more excited about seeing the famous staircase that leads upstairs to the ovens and decorating.

lobster tail sfogliatelle mini ricotta cannoli carlo's bakery cake boss buddy valastro new jersey
Lobster tail US$5, sfogliatelle US$3 and mini cannoli with ricotta $2

We finally escape the circus with our precious cargo. The lobster tail had to be tried. It's superbly flaky and crunchy, filled with a vanilla custard. The sfogliatelle isn't quite as crisp but the mini cannoli is delicious, piped fresh with a ricotta filling.

mini cannoli carlo's bakery cake boss buddy valastro new jersey
Mini cannoli US$2 and mini chocolate coated cannoli US$2.50

Doughnut Plant New York City

creme brulee doughnut donut at doughnut plant nyc new york lower east side
Creme brulee donut US$3.25

And our finale for New York was one of the sweetest: Doughnut Plant, which had expanded considerably since my last visit in 2005.

doughnut plant nyc new york lower east side
Doughnut Plant in the Lower East Side

Doughnut Plant was started in 1994 by Mark Israel whose grandfather once ran a bakery in North Carolina. Mark's dad, Marvin, used to have to glaze donuts every day after school.

donuts at doughnut plant nyc new york lower east side

Just like his grandfather (who created the first cake mix in the 1930s), Mark is keen to innovate with recipes. He is a keen user of seasonal fruits and fresh roasted nuts in glazes. In 2004 he invents the jelly-filled square donut which has jelly piped into a square.

donut bench seat at doughnut plant nyc new york lower east side
Doughnut bench seating

Today there's a Doughnut Plant in Tokyo and two locations in New York. We visit the original one in the Lower East Side which has a non-stop trade of customers, even during the middle of the day.

doughnut donut menu at doughnut plant nyc new york lower east side
Doughnut display menu

Deciding what to order is the hardest thing, with a menu that includes all kinds of glazes and fillings across cake and yeast donuts.

peanut butter and jam donut, tres leche donut, carrot cake donut, creme brulee donut at doughnut plant nyc new york lower east side
Doughnuts round one [clockwise from bottom left]
peanut butter and jam US$3.25, tres leche US$3, carrot cake US$3 and creme brulee US$3.25 with strawberry lemonade US$3.50 each

Suze and I rip into four donuts from the start, washed down with fresh housemade strawberry lemonade made from fresh strawberries, spring water and organic sugar.

The peanut butter and jam donut is amazing, filled with peanut butter and jam and coated in a thin glaze studded with peanuts. Their signature creme brulee donut is our unanimous favourite, a gentle puff of a donut swollen with silky custard and topped with a crackle of toffee.

carrot cake donut at doughnut plant nyc new york lower east side
Carrot cake donut US$3

The carrot cake donut is surprisingly tasty too, the spiced mixture generously packed with carrots and walnuts but not overly dense or stodgy.

tres leche cake donut at doughnut plant nyc new york lower east side
Tres leche cake donut US$3

The tres leche is missing that saucy milkiness you get from the original dessert but there's still a richness to this donut.

coconut lime donut, peanut butter banana cream donut and strawberry and cream donut at doughnut plant nyc new york lower east side
Doughnuts round two [clockwise from bottom left]
coconut lime US$2.25, peanut butter banana cream US$3.25 and strawberry and cream US$2.25

So, like, since one never knows when you'll return to New York, I cave in and get another round of donuts. Because we can. And they're so tasty!

peanut butter banana cream donut at doughnut plant nyc new york lower east side
Peanut butter banana cream filled doughnut US$3.25

The peanut butter banana cream filled donut doesn't have the chunks of banana I'd hoped for but it's still a dessert that I reckon Elvis would be happy with.

coconut lime doughseed filled doughnut donut at doughnut plant nyc new york lower east side
Coconut lime doughseed filled donut US$2.25

The strawberry and cream donut is tasty but my new favourite is the coconut lime doughseed. The zinginess of the lime is incredible!

And that's how you eat for six days in New York City! Next stop: Chicago!

Baohaus - East Village
238 East 14th Street (near 2nd Avenue), New York, New York
Tel: +1 (646) 669 8889
Opening hours:
Sunday to Thursday 11.30am - 12am
Friday to Saturday 11.30am - 4am
Baohaus on Urbanspoon

Carlo's Bakery
95 Washington Street, Hoboken, New Jersey
Tel: +1 (201) 659 3671
Opening hours:
Monday to Thursday 7am - 8pm
Friday and Saturday 7am - 9pm
Sunday 7am - 7pm
Also open at Ridgewood and Westfield - both in New Jersey
Carlo's Bakery on Urbanspoon

Clinton Street Baking Company - Lower East Side
4 Clinton Street (btw East Houston and Stanton), New York, New York
Tel: +1 (646) 602 6263
Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 8am - 4pm and 6pm - 11pm
Saturday 9am - 4pm and 6pm - 11pm
Sunday 9am - 6pm
Clinton St. Baking Company on Urbanspoon

Doughnut Plant - Lower East Side
379 Grand Street (btw Essex and Norfolk), New York, New York
Tel: +1 (212) 505 3700
Opening hours:
Open daily 6.30am - 8pm
Cash only
Also open at Hotel Chelsea, 220 West 23rd Street, New York, New York
Doughnut Plant on Urbanspoon

Lobster Joint - Lower East Side
201 East Houston Street (btw Ludlow and Orchard), New York, New York
Tel: +1 (646) 896 1200
Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 12pm - 12am
Saturday and Sunday 11am - 12am
Also open at Greenpoint and Rockaway Beach
Lobster Joint on Urbanspoon

>> Read the next USA 2013 post: Chicago deep pan pizza and Italian beef
<< Read the first USA 2013 post: Cronuts at Dominique Ansel Bakery, NYC

Related Grab Your Fork posts: 

USA 2013
Austin - BBQ tour - Franklin, Ruby's, Green Mesquite, Salt Lick & La Barbecue
Austin - Gourdough's bacon donut, Hoover's, Whole Foods and Biscuits + Groovy
Chicago - Deep pan pizza, Al's #1 Italian beef & Cheesecake Factory
Kansas City - BBQ: Gates, Oklahoma Joes & Arthur Bryant's

LA - Animal Restaurant
LA - Boiling Crab
LA - Bouchon Bistro and Bouchon Bakery
LA - Donut tour of LA's best: Randy's Donuts, Bob's Doughnuts & The Donut Man
LA - In-N-Out, Roscoe's Fried Chicken & Waffles, Kogi food truck & Pink's Hot Dogs
LA - Mexican: Loteria Grill, Tamales Liliana's & El Flamin Taco
New Orleans - Willy Mae's fried chicken, Felix's Oyster Bar & beignet

NYC - Cronuts at Dominique Ansel Bakery
NYC - Doughnut Plant, Carlo's Bakery, Baohaus, Lobster Joint & Clinton St Bakery
NYC - Jewish food tour: Katz's Deli, Russ & Daughters, knish and bagels
NYC - Momofuku Noodle Bar fried chicken, Ssam Bar & Milk Bar
NYC - Motorino brussels sprout pizza, Best Pizza and Big Gay Ice Cream
NYC - Shake Shack, Tom Colicchio's Craftbar and Union Square Greenmarket
26 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 10/10/2013 07:40:00 am


  • At 10/10/2013 7:53 am, Blogger Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    I am obssessed with Cake Boss and am so jealous you got to visit the bakery.. and those stairs, I so know how you feel about them. Hahaha.

  • At 10/10/2013 8:07 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    A creme brulee donut?!!! No way!! I want! I'm noting all this places down. I too enjoy and encourge dinner for breaki lol

  • At 10/10/2013 8:10 am, Anonymous Melissa said…

    Bauhaus is AMAZING! I'm still dreaming about their food from a visit to NYC in February. Nom-nom.

  • At 10/10/2013 9:22 am, Anonymous angela@mykikicake said…

    OHH I have wanted to go to Baohaus ever since I saw the Vice Guide Munchies on Eddie Huang. On a side note, that Creme Brulee donut looks AMAZING!

  • At 10/10/2013 9:48 am, Blogger Jarhead said…

    I've been following the Vice series 'Fresh Off The Boat' since it started last year and have since been craving those Baos! Very jealous

  • At 10/10/2013 11:45 am, Anonymous Katie said…

    Oh, those pancakes! On our last night in NYC we had a bunch of things we wanted to try (never got to Clinton St) or repeat. It was pouring rain. The solution? Make a bunch of poor delivery boys deal with it, and eat in bed in our East Village apartment. Pancakes, onion rings and a chocolate peanut butter shake is an acceptable dinner, right? What if we added a porchetta roll and potatoes from Porchetta, and salad and a pizza from Pulino's? Such an indulgent night....we absolutely did not finish it all between three of us! We only ended up with the pizza because one of our number was so enamoured of the salad (and we felt it was a bit weird to just get that delivered). Alas, none of us were in the mood for leftovers when we had to get up at 4.30am for the flight home! (although happily nommed the Russ & Daughters bagels we'd already bought in preparation at the airport).

  • At 10/10/2013 12:56 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    best donuts of the whole trip!!

  • At 10/10/2013 2:25 pm, Blogger Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said…

    Whoa so many donuts to choose from! I would go mad with indecision :P Mm, key lime pie in donut form sounds so good... And the pancakes look amazing too! As does everything else! Oh man, I need to get to America stat... :D

  • At 10/10/2013 2:27 pm, Anonymous Cindy (A Foodie's Joy) said…

    I have a weakness for buttermilk fried chicken.....yummy! Cannot believe you queued for an hour at Carlo's Bakery! Did you get déjà vu feelings like you were queuing for Cronuts? :)

  • At 10/10/2013 2:37 pm, Anonymous gastronomous anonymous said…

    love all the US post! i have a soft spot for buttermilk fried chicken.... will have to go back next time i am in the US!

  • At 10/10/2013 5:41 pm, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    "piscatorial decadence..."...LOL! Wow! You guys def covered a lot of places in your 6 days! What a feast! I'm now craving donuts and lobster (both sweet and savoury!).

  • At 10/10/2013 6:25 pm, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Two rounds of donuts - I take my Sugar Hit hat off to you!

  • At 10/10/2013 11:20 pm, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    salivating at 1130 pm. not good! so much deliciousnes i think i may have some awesome dreams tonight!

  • At 10/11/2013 8:24 am, Blogger thesuzchef said…

    I rocked up to Clinton St Bakery on a Sunday mid morning with 7 other extremely hungover individuals. We had to wait an hour and a half for a table, but boy were the blueberry pancakes worth it. I also tried buttered apple cider there - not a fan but it was an experience!

    I miss NYC!

  • At 10/11/2013 10:39 am, Anonymous Amanda said…

    Wow - so impressed with your diligence and persistence. I'm not sure I could be bothered queuing for an hour for cake, although I might be tempted to for some of those bao.

  • At 10/11/2013 11:07 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    YES EXACTLY. I may have been excited by the salad but let's remember who ate the lion's share of the pie after Suze's ONE bite and your dainty nibbles? ;)

    Also I had to laugh because I just ate half a one-pound loaf of roasted garlic-studded bread while reading this. Screw salad.

  • At 10/12/2013 4:42 am, Blogger CQUEK said…


  • At 10/12/2013 9:55 am, Anonymous Christina @ The Hungry Australian said…

    Breakfast for dinner? I'm totally on board with that. After all, when I'm in Malaysia I have nasi lemak for breakfast right? Those buttermilk drumsticks look fab but I think my fave is that creme brulee doughnut. Yum!

  • At 10/13/2013 4:33 pm, Anonymous Iron Chef Shellie said…

    Wow, I must remember to go on a weekday to Carlo's bakery! I guess with the new factory they have Buddy wouldn't be in everyday, but NO ONE from the show? wah :(

  • At 10/13/2013 5:00 pm, Blogger Annie said…

    omg creme brulee donuts! so wanna travel to new york to check out these eateries right now and more...

  • At 10/13/2013 7:57 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    I still can't believe how many doughnut places you had visited! Respect for living and breathing doughnuts!

  • At 10/13/2013 9:42 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    Um, amazing! You know, I went to Jazz City Diner for the chicken and waffles because of your previous post, and now I think I'm gonna have to go to New York and try the one at Clinton Street Baking Company!

  • At 10/13/2013 10:05 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Oh wow. Lobster lobster everywhere! Be still my beating heart. I need to get myself there, stat!

  • At 10/21/2013 1:16 pm, Anonymous Sara - Belly Rumbles said…

    Yup, just got my daily dose of NYC food porn and I think I just gained 5kgs :p

  • At 10/23/2013 6:35 pm, Anonymous Alana said…

    What a great round up! I'm not one for waiting in queues but I'd most likely stick around to buy something from Carlo's too. AND NOW I WANT DONUTS.

  • At 10/23/2013 6:35 pm, Anonymous Alana said…

    What a great round up! I'm not one for waiting in queues but I'd most likely stick around to buy something from Carlo's too. AND NOW I WANT DONUTS.


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