Friday, August 2, 2013

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

I've been wanting to try the chicken and doughnuts (I usually write donuts) from Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken for a while now.  Described as "an astronomical clash of two iconic comfort food classics, exploding on the DC scene," my coworker, Jess, has walked up to the shop a couple times in attempts to obtain the coveted donuts, but has been turned away because the store was sold out.  The donuts are after all prepared daily and on-site by fry master, Chef Jason Gehring.  So when they are gone - they.are.gone. Closest Metro is Metro Center.

While Chef Jason honed his pastry craft in restaurant kitchens, you can thank his grandmother, whose fried chicken recipe has been perfected for your pleasure at Astro.  Expect an artful and whimsical touch to Astro’s daily rotation of donut flavors that change with the seasons.  The shop is basically just the main counter area - there is no seating - so be prepared to take your order to-go.  Jess and I walked to the shop on this Friday hoping that we cold score some donuts.  Luckily, the line wasn't that long and only a couple options were sold out, but many others still available.  We took our orders back to the office and I saved mine to take home and eat later...

I was convinced by the clerk to try one of the favorite nostalgic flavors: peanut butter and jelly. I was skeptical at first, thinking it would be overly sweet, but am glad I got it as this donut was my favorite. It was a soft and moist square-shaped donut topped with a thin layer of peanut butter sprinkled with chopped peanuts and stuffed with a fresh strawberry jelly. I eat many pb&j sammies for lunch, so this was right up my alley and I could easily have eaten the whole thing but in the practice of sharing, I saved the other half for Keith. He also thought it might be too sweet, but finished his half without hesitation.  Keith thought it was too sandwich-like and not "donuty" enough.  The dough was too bready for his liking, but I thought it was perfect and would return just for this donut.


I also picked up the award-winning French dessert-inspired rendition: crème brûlée. Also square shaped, this donut was stuffed with vanilla custard that was sinful and topped with a flame-torched vanilla glaze.  Funnily, Keith enjoyed this donut much more than I did.  I still favored the pb&j and found this crème brûlée donut to be just alright.  I liked the custard inside, as it did not taste processed but more natural with true vanilla flavor.  The dough was more classic donut-like and had nice bite.  I just did not care for the brûléed glaze - I could taste the "burnt" sugar crust, which turned me off.  Keith, however, thought that was the best part.  He concluded that I might just not be a fan of crème brûlée in general and that was affecting my opinion.

I also picked up 4 pieces of their classic buttermilk fried chicken. A leg, thigh, wing, and breast come in the four-pack.  To be fair, we had to reheat the chicken when we got home so may not have been as crispy and fresh-tasting as if you ate it right away.  Nonetheless, the chicken had great flavor from the peppery thick crust.  I ate the breast (white meat) and a leg (dark meat), while Keith ate the thigh and wing.  The white meat was a tad dryer than the dark meat, but I did not mind and enjoyed the whole piece.  Keith had a piece of the breast and thought it was reminiscent of overcooked turkey.  The dark meat was his preference.  I liked the leg and thought it was a bit spicier than the white meat.  All in the all, the chicken was above average, but not special enough for us to return to Astro specifically for.  The donuts at Astro clearly outweigh the chicken.  I'm already thinking about what other flavors I should try next...

Total Rating: 3.55
Food: 4, Price: 3, Service: 3, Ambience: 2, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:

Peanut Butter & Jelly Doughnut

Crème Brûlée Doughnut

Classic Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken on Urbanspoon

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