So, I like a good donut as much as just about anything. And these days, thanks to a reintroduction by my foodie foraging friend Gabriella, you are just as likely to find me waiting on line at the Donut Plant as you are anyplace else in the city. But in the category of “Old School Fried Dough,” it doesn’t get much better than the glazed apple fritters at D’Aiuto Pastry Corporation (405 8th Ave., between 30th and 31st Sts.)—a high-falutin’ name for an otherwise divy, old-fashioned bakery.
Ignore the signs for the bakery’s Baby Watson cheesecakes. In fact, ignore everything else in the place—the giant, stale cupcakes, the soggy, overly sweet danishes, the insipid, sawdust-textured cookies. Ignore everything but the apple fritters. Weighing in at about a pound apiece, these dark golden-brown dough bombs studded with apples are crisp and delicious. For $2 or so, one can easily satisfy four people.
There’s nothing new or innovative about them. There’s nothing local, healthful, or sustainable—unless, perhaps, someone picks up all the Fryolater grease the bakery must go through making these things and uses it in a converted BMW biodiesel engine.
While you are in the neighborhood, you might want to grab a slice of an old-school New York pie at Pizza Suprema, just up the block (413 8th Ave.). Iff you are a traditionalist, have the pizza first. I happened into Suprema one day looking for a bite to eat near my tai chi studio and I was pleasantly surprized by the flavorful, thin crust, the sweet tomato sauce, and the real mozzarella on these classic pizzas. (They make an unusual upside-down pie with the sauce on top of the cheese that’s pretty yummy, too.) Still family owned, this pizzeria is everything Artichoke isn’t. And you won’t have to wait on line.
Come to think, the apple fritters at D’Aiuto’s are everything the greasy fried dough balls at Artichoke’s sister restaurant Zeppole aren’t, either. Maybe there’s a trend here? New isn’t always better. Heartburn isn’t always better, either.