Returning to a South Side Staple: Dat Donut

14 Jan

As we enter this new Donut Year, we find ourselves glancing backwards through our past journeys for inspiration.  Upon further reflection, we realize we have not yet scored some tried-and-true Donut Meccas.

You see, Dear Readers, scattered around the South Side of Chicago lie some of the best donut shops in the city.  In fact, they’re quite likely some of the best donut shops in the greater Chicagoland area, if not the entire Midwest (here at Breakfast Adventures we’re not afraid to make drastic Donut Statements).  Old Fashioned Donut, Abundance Bakery, and Dat Donut are a few to name.

It was the third of these we decided to return to this morning and re-evaluate.

Dat Donut from outside: It don't look like much.

Dat Donut, also sometimes called Dat Old Fashioned Donut, is known on a national level for delivering good, fried, down-and-dirty donuts.  We visited them once before but returned this morning to examine their offerings more critically and assign them a ranking.

Here’s what we found:

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Glazed

Coffee Girl: My favorite donut of today’s excursion, this tasty little number boasted a raised dough that could have come directly out of your mama’s oven in the form of buttery, fluffy dinner rolls.  Partnered with a thick, sticky glaze, this donut was a winner — and reason enough to make the trip to this Donut Emporium.

Donut Boy: This right here is why you get in the Donut Mobile at the crack of dawn and head to the South Side of Chicago.  This is a truly decadent pastry — buttery, moist, pillow-esque, I can find no fault with this donut.  I see why Dat Donut would stake their reputation on this one.

Score: 9.5

Vanilla w/ Sprinkles


Coffee Girl: Not unpleasant, though in this combination we found the raised dough too squishy.  The sprinkles provided a delicious crackle to the experience, which remained, alas, forgettable.

Donut Boy: The glazed donut wasn’t broken, yet they tried to fix it by adding sprinkles and frosting.  These just got in the way.  The vanilla frosting was mildly sweet but, as my cohort mentioned, instantly forgettable.

Score: 6.9

Jelly

Coffee Girl: Not our favorite jelly donut ever, this entry nevertheless managed to maintain a firm middle-of-the-road status.

Donut Boy: I have to give credit where credit’s due: Dat Donut nailed the Jelly Distribution (this is a dealbreaker for me for filled pastries).  The sheer thickness of this donut meant it was a bit challenging to eat, but the jelly was a pleasing viscosity and the white frosting on top rounded out the sweetness without overwhelming.  Not bad at all.

Score: 7.5

Caramel Frosted and Pineapple Frosted

Coffee Girl: These two donuts posed a mystery to these two Experienced Chicago Donuteers:  Why did they both taste so pallid?  I was very excited about the caramel donut, but astonished when the forgettable cake donut underneath boasted a frosting whose taste disappeared even as I was eating it.  Who stole the flavor?  Similarly with the raised donut topped with pineapple frosting — sounds interesting, no?  We were certainly intrigued, until we discovered that we had chewed and swallowed a generous sample without actually tasting anything.  How is that possible?  Had we crossed some sort of South Side dateline that robbed us of the Taste Dimension?

Donut Boy: Both these donuts missed the mark pretty badly.  The caramel frosting was dry and fell off in chips when we picked up the donut.  Also, no actual caramel flavor was discernible.  Ditto for the pineapple frosting.  What’s going on here?

Score: 5.3

Blueberry

Coffee Girl: Our second favorite donut of the day, this little glazed number was fried, fried, fried.  Yes, yes, yes—beaucoup crunch encasing a snappy little fruit-flavored cake donut.  Very nice.

Donut Boy: Dat Donut’s appeal can be summed up simply by examining the cross section of this donut.  Rings of grease from frying were clearly visible (hear, hear!).  This must explain the incredible crunch of the pastry, whose strong-but-not-too-sweet blueberry flavor balanced out the savory goodness of the frying oil.  Fantastic.

Score: 8.8

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Today’s adventure illustrated a Donut Truism we’ve noticed over the months: Even good donut shops have their off days.  We’ve visited many a shop based on a glowing recommendation only to find less-than-stellar offerings.  Last time we visited Dat Donut we couldn’t believe our taste buds.  This time?  Not so much.

Still, a donut shop is only as good as its stalest, most boring donut; we must remain objective in our scoring.

OVERALL SCORE: 7.9

Still, we would be remiss if we didn’t recommend that Donut Rookies hop in their cars and head to Dat Donut sometime soon.  Their reputation has grown for a reason and it’s quite possible you might just encounter Donut Bliss if you’re there on the right morning.

Until next week, Donuteers!

-CG&DB

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