The machine looks as out of place at Hollywood East Cafe as an immersion circulator at Denny’s. The doughnut maker, says Brian Yu, the third of co-owner Janet Yu’s four sons, was trotted out last Friday to celebrate National Doughnut Day, that free pass to collectively gobble down fried ringlets without remorse.
On Saturday, when I visited for Hollywood East’s terrific dim sum, the machine was still cranking out miniature doughnuts for the hordes that arrive every weekend to order from the rolling carts of small delights. Brian told me that his older brother, Jeffrey Yu, had wanted to start a doughnut shop but had not yet found the right location. Hence, dim sum doughnuts on the menu at Hollywood East.
There’s nothing particularly Chinese about the tiny doughnuts, other than the fact you can eat them with chopsticks. The slightly sweetened dough is fried just to the edge of crunchiness and sprinkled ever so delicately with cinnamon and sugar. Sweet bombs, these are not. You can practically shovel them into your maw like popcorn at the movies.
When I reached out to Jeffrey Yu via Twitter, he confirmed that he was looking to open a doughnut shop, but had far bigger news to share:
I am getting ready to open up Dumpling Dojo [in] the coming weeks at Montgomery Mall.
It seems the managers of the Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda gave the green light to Dumpling Dojo before the doughnut concept, which Yu still expects to open in the same mall. But first things first: Yu has signed a lease and hopes to open Dumpling Dojo by July 1. The place will not serve alcohol. Yu explained the concept this way:
Dumpling Dojo is all about homemade dumplings, Bao sandwiches, & rice bowls! I’m excited to open & share the recipes I’ve worked so hard on!
Meanwhile, Yu says to look for his Flippin’ Donuts shop before the end of the year. It’s clear that at least one Yu offspring has plans to take his family’s good fortune and spread it wider in the Washington area.