By some estimates 1600+ Donut shops across California are owned by Cambodian families, and at Dōnatsu in Little Tokyo Jenny and Nite Ban put their own unique spin on an entirely Vegan collection of fried Dough with fluffy textures and unique Toppings that fit the eatery’s name and neighborhood.
Opened in January 2019, and since gathering a dedicated following in Little Tokyo, it is immediately on entry that Dōnatsu differentiates itself from the pack, the dark and shiny interior feeling upscale yet secretive despite its placement directly across from DTLA’s popular Japanese Village Plaza.
Offering both classic and creative options, prices from $3.00 to $4.25 including ideas such as the flower-topped “Magic Dragon” and pink-sprinkled “Homer,” it is using the Japanese word for Donut that Dōnatsu makes every batch from scratch on-site, the focus on photogenicity expected though textures also set a high standard.
Entrenched in a competitive market, though perhaps less-so downtown than elsewhere in LA, being different definitely benefits Dōnatsu in the case of their Black Sesame frosted ring, a savory quality tinged with Sugar playing well off light and fluffy Dough while a traditional Apple Fritter also performs beautifully thanks to plenty of Fruit and Glaze that crackles to the tooth.
Passing on Ube, Samoa and Crème Brûlée, a lack of capacity the only real reason, Dōnatsu’s filled Donuts take on two forms, the first exemplified by Sugar-dusted Churros filled with Dulce de Leche Cream and the other a sliced specimen called Mocha Latte with sweetened Chocolate and Cocoa Nibs juxtaposing bitter Coffee.