When notice of Zac Young’s Flex Donuts pop-up in Zocalo at Grand Central Station popped up in my feed on Friday (along with several other times), I decided it was a time to head over. And thankfully so – the pop-up is only slated to run through this coming Friday, February 4th. The special runs from noon until 4pm, though coming early is recommended. I was there around 12:30, but was told that the special has grown in popularity and has been selling out between 2-2:30 most days. And I could see why. Most patrons were ordering three. When I was there, they had just barely opened and a team from the Food Network had just ordered some 8+ to try.
Zac Young is the Executive Pastry Chef at Flex Mussels. This two week run brought his creations out of their usual location though and over to Grand Central. To order, hop in the carry-out line and order with the cashier. Once you get close to the cashier, you’ll notice the glass covered counter area where the donuts will appear. Unlike all other filled donuts I’ve had, these are piped and filled in front of your eyes, making for a fresh and non-soggy donut. Brilliant. The donuts themselves are essentially giant donut holes (think maybe the size of 2.5 standard donut holes). These are more of the non-cake donut form, though generously coated in sugar and light and fluffy versus dense.
I’d read that the fillings were where it’s at, so I skipped the basic cinnamon sugar in favor of more adventurous options. That day the filling choices were margarita, blueberry passion fruit, spiced chocolate, and salted cajeta. The salted cajeta is essentially caramelized goat’s milk – if you are only getting one, this is where it’s at. It made for a thick caramel-like center, making me think of caramel-covered apples. Yet better. So much better. More salty and creamier.
The blueberry passion fruit was an interesting combination, substituted for the usual menu option of raspberry. The passion fruit added a bit of a tropical flare to the blueberry making this one my second favorite. I’d have to say my least favorite of the three was the spiced chocolate, coming across as basic chocolate and lacking the kick I think I was expecting this one to have. Note, I’m not saying I was disappointed by any of the three. I think they make for a well-balanced lunch option on a Friday. Don’t you?
While the pop-up only runs through Friday, the donuts are also available at either of Flex Mussels’ locations in the city (there are two). Based on the popularity of the special run though, the possibility of opening more permanent locations haven’t been ruled out. Oh I’ll be looking for that.
Flex Donuts Pop-up – Runs through Friday, February 4th (12-4pm)
Zocalo – Grand Central Station Main Dining Concourse