On a beautiful sunny morning, I set out for a stroll, and ended up with donuts from super-trendy Union Square Donuts. They make artisanal, small-batch donuts in funky flavors and sell out fast. It was on the earlier side, so not too many people were out and about, but as I got closer to the shop, every single person I passed had a box or bag from this place. Good sign.
I stood in a long but quick-moving line and gazed hungrily at their donut display.
“They all look great, but I don’t want to eat any of them,” said the customer in front of me. “I guess I’m not a donut guy.”
What?! Why are you getting your breakfast here then? Donuts are literally the only food they sell! And just look at these donuts!
At $3-$3.50 each, these beauts are pricey, but they are very large. I have a huge sweet tooth and one donut satisfied me. They also sell donut holes for those just wanting a taste, but they’re all regular glaze; no special flavors.
Though my gaze lingered over sea-salted bourbon caramel, and I felt the pull of classics like vanilla bean or chocolate marble, eventually the choice came down to two.
Boston Cream: Phenomenal texture, yeasty and soft but not airy, with the perfect amount of chew. The custard is lovely, flecked with real vanilla beans. The glaze has a deep cocoa taste, much darker than I expected, so the overall flavor balance is less sweet than I’ve found in a standard Boston cream. It definitely grew on me as I continued eating my half.
Brown butter hazelnut: A real winner. The hazelnuts smell so warm and add nutty, crunchy richness. Each bite includes a sweet, melty glaze and that lovely chewy dough. There’s a hint of a warm spice; maybe cinnamon or cardamom? Fantastic with coffee. Get it get it get it.
There’s some sitting space inside, which I didn’t expect, but it feels less like a cafe and more like your awkward neighbors’ living room – mismatched seating and no tables. However, I hear the shop plans to move to new digs. Guess I’ll have to go back and try their donuts again.
Union Square Donuts
16 Bow St., Somerville, MA