Made to Order – Sausage, Eggs, Green Chile Cheese Sauce
Pina Colada Fritter (V)
Cherry Pistachio (V)
Crème Fraiche Glazed
Hibiscus Tea Glazed
Dark Chocolate (V)
Orange Boston Cream
Captain Crunch Cereal
Mexican Hot Chocolate with Horchata Pudding
Located on the corner of 6th and Carson for just a little over a year it was on the invitation of owner Sonny Ahuja that a return visit was finally made to DTLV’s O Face Doughnuts, and having heard recently that the quality of both product and service had improved substantially since opening it was with the owner himself that I sat down for a quartet of pastry chef Crystal Whitford’s newest inspirations, a boxed dozen of Classics additionally taken to a later gathering with friends.
Undoubtedly a polarizing space amongst Las Vegans in search of fried dough, the accolades sung by many ‘foodies’ and chefs balanced by reviews from those who find the product greasy or simply not their style, it was with mixed feelings from my first visit that I sat down to talk with Sonny as Chef Whitford worked double duty as barista for a steady crowd, and discussing the challenges of operating such a business downtown while sipping a bold cold-brew sourced from Seattle the passion of each for the concept was plainly evident, the “difficult” choice to change oils from an original canola base eliciting a bit of ire when I, too, admitted that the original version did indeed come off as oily, or at least over-fried.
At this point having found their rhythm, the shelves fully stocked on my 8:30 arrival with four young staff members hard at work mixing, frying, and glazing several more pastries to replete those going out as part of a large delivery it was with three items suggested by Sonny that the tasting began, and starting out with two ‘fork and knife’ rounds one would be hard pressed to decide which seasonal special was more impressive – the PB&J a cake-based work with surprising levity to the interior cream while the Vegan friendly Cherry Pistachio shined with cherry jam beneath a glaze studded with fresh nuts, the results a fine balance of sweet and savory that tasted extremely natural with the fluffy dough punctuated by the pistachio’s light crunch.
Continuing the conversation as the kitchen fried a made-to-order breakfast doughnut that arrived piping hot with spicy chili cheese still molten around eggs and sausage it was in the Pina Colada fritter that I indulged, and a far cry from the oily composition of apple and bacon experienced just weeks after O-Face originally opened the results were instead a textbook take on the oldschool East-Coast fritter with a crisp exterior overlying a lightly leavened pillow, the flavor of pineapple offering just a hint of sweetness while mellow coconut tones were amplified without being over-the-top.
Taking the rest of the doughnuts to go, a Chef selected box with six “In Hand” and the same number of “Fork and Knife” classics sampled surrounding a lunch with friends both old and new, suffice it to say that that those fancying filled donuts would be well advised to visit O-Face for their fix, for as much as the simple glazed rings were pleasant, if not memorable, one would be hard pressed to name a better place for fillings anywhere outside of the goods at So.Cal’s SideCar, the cereal milk pudding inside the Cap’n Crunch everything the description would suggest while both the horchata and cheesecake were rich yet restrained in sweetness, the award winning Maple Bacon one-upping anything offered from elsewhere as tones of pure maple syrup proved a welcome relieve to the cloying artificial tastes offered from the supposed inventors at Voodoo to anywhere within the (702.)
FOUR STARS: Still not the place one should set their coordinates for simple classics, but without a doubt the best ‘artisan’ doughnuttery within a hundred miles of Sin City, O-Face Doughnuts has come a long way since opening day and with promises of more seasonal variations plus potential improvements to the coffee program soon to come there is little doubt those unamused previously owe Sonny and Crystal a second chance while first-timers are likely to wonder exactly where ‘greasy’ comments were hatched.
RECOMMENDED: Filled options all trend strong with the Cherry Pistachio, Captain Crunch Cereal, Maple Bacon, and Mexican Hot Chocolate with Horchata Pudding all showing particularly well – a comment equally offered to the Pina Colada Fritter that should be a ‘must’ for anyone fancying the cocktail or a crispy fritter in the classic East-Coast style.
AVOID: Generally fancying cake doughnuts over simple ‘raised and glazed’ iterations, the value simply isn’t there for $1.25 “in-hand” selections that lack the classic appeal of a place like Friendly in Henderson or ACE on Tropicana, though there is little doubt the ingredient quality outstrips both.
TIP: Open at 7am on weekdays and 8am on weekends with delivery options as noted on the website, seasonal varieties subject to change.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor