If you have been reading my reviews, you might remember I visited Vortex during opening week. To recap, I was not the most impressed with their heavy, greasy cake doughnuts but vowed to visit them again for a taste of their yeast, the gold standard of basic doughnut craftsmanship. I took that opportunity again recently.
After my first visit, the management at Vortex complained to my publisher that I wasn’t fair to them, since they’d had kitchen problems, and implored me come back and give them another chance, this time with the intent to talk to me and discuss their operation. I have some bad news: that is not what food critics do. You don’t get the chance to argue your case, put on your best behavior and impress me. I want to see what the average experience is like. If good reviews are important, be on your best behavior every day with every customer. I do not announce my presence nor explain myself, and if you try to manipulate reviews, I have no choice but to out your restaurant.
There is but a single way to get an excellent review, and that is by providing exceptional food and top shelf service.
That said, I did give an honest second trial. Since they had a buy one get one free special, I tried two doughnuts, both yeast, and my companion tried another cake doughnut.
No. I am not certain which quick bread recipe they adapted for their deep fryer, but these were so far from yeast that at first I thought they had been mistaken. They were dense, doughy, heavy bits of bland bread, glazed with an incredibly mild, almost nonexistent sugar. Yeast doughnuts should be light, airy, and considerably larger than their cake cousins, but these were barely distinguishable from cake and so unsatisfying I failed to finish mine. Where I had anticipated hot, I received lukewarm, where I expected airy I got chewy. Truly, the chain doughnuts are better by quite a margin, and less expensive by half.
I sampled a vanilla cake doughnut and was even more let down. Did they put cornmeal in their doughnuts? It tasted like someone’s sweetened cornbread, though it lacked the gritty texture. The doughnut was not as greasy as their last round, but still not a tasty experience.
I set my unfinished yeast doughnut next to the cake here. Can you tell which is which?
Vortex, you need to go back to the drawing board with your recipes. Two dollars per doughnut is an expensive treat, but for a doughnut of poor quality, it is an insult, and one I will not be entertaining again. No opening week excuses anymore, your doughnuts are simply not good. I wish you luck competing with the far superior yeast offerings of Hole.