Dutch doughnuts at Acme
When I think of the word acme only one thing comes to mind: Wile E. Coyote. These dutch doughnuts, from the Nolita restaurant Acme, are perfectly in line with that crazy coyote's Acme Corporation contraptions. Made in a specially constructed cast iron pan with seven perfectly round indents, these doughnuts could foil even that coyote. The doughnuts, called Oliebollen (which translates to oil balls), are a Dutch delicacy that are traditionally eaten on New Year's Eve.
The restaurant sits on a wide, roomy street just a little north of Houston Street, on a block with a mix of high-end boutiques, high-end lofts and a few straggly industrial buildings hanging on for dear life. Now, if you're like me, you like sweet and savory for brunch. Which is what lead me to the doughnuts–the brunch form of an appetizer. But, sneaky like Wile E. there were only five doughnuts instead of seven, with the two remaining spaces filled with dipping sauces. The pale chestnut colored sauce was a dulce de leche creme and the second was something like a watered down marmalade jelly–with less flavor and a bit more mouthfeel. Both sauces had unique textures, filled with lumps and bumps that the gritty dough texture of the doughnut could grab onto.
The clear winner was the dulce de leche sauce. It was creamy and rich with both a tang from the milk and a depth from the caramel, and possibly a nutty hazelnut finish. The doughnut itself was warm in the middle and custardy. A few tears were shed when the doughnuts were gone but we cheered ourselves up with a few dipped fingers into the remaining sauce.
The atmosphere at Acme is wonderful. The decor mixes together an eclectic hybrid of vintage and new that all feels like its been there forever. One wall is completely take up with a long mirrored bar. The mirror isn't so new that you can see everything perfectly. It's silvered and missing its finish and its mottled, so that when you gaze at your reflection you're not returned a perfect match. The floor, a checkerboard of green and black, feels like your favorite lumberjack plaid has been laid at your feet. I hear that in the evening it's all about money men and models. Maybe it is. In any case, just go for brunch and be sure to order the doughnuts.
Want to make your own Oliebollen? Go for it!