You can blanket a doughnut in chocolate glaze or bury it beneath sprinkles or even twist it into fanciness.

But, none of that matters. The true test of a doughnut is how it tastes plain.

An unadorned, glazed doughnut may not be the flashiest pastry in the case, but it'll clue you in to how good the rest of the doughnuts are. And at Young Donut Shop, the glazed doughnuts are tops.

Light as air with a thin, almost crackly sugar glaze, it seems a disservice to refer to them as "plain."

They're anything but.

Though the doughnuts are puffy, they still have some chew and just the right amount of sweetness. Way too often doughnuts are so cloyingly sweet that a mere bite can induce cavities.

For the past year and a half, Sophy Se and her brother Keng Se have had the little doughnut shop, interestingly located next door to a children's dental office.

The doughnut making starts long before the sun's even thinking about peeking over the Rincon Mountains - at 2 a.m. - and Keng spends the next several hours making batter, giving it time to rise and then frying the doughnuts.

Sophy, who says she's too old to make the doughnuts, handles the register. She's known for slipping little bonuses into those pink pastry boxes. Sometimes she sneaks in "little dots" - that's what doughnut holes are called in my house - other times, it's a whole extra doughnut. Now that's sweet.

Young also carries some non-doughnut pastries, like muffins and croissants, that aren't made in-house. But it's hard to imagine ordering anything but the doughnuts (69-74 cents individually).

The cases boast a drool-inducing selection: raised, cake, long johns, frosted, glazed, frosted with sprinkles, frosted with coconut or topped with chopped peanuts. You get the idea, there's a lot, and a few that are out of the ordinary, like an orange-glazed cake doughnut or, one of the top sellers, a tiger tail ($1.19), a long doughnut twisted up with coconut, apples and cinnamon.

Another top seller is the apple fritter ($1.19) and understandably so. Big enough for two, Young's fritter is thick with rippled, crispy edges, arguably the best part of a fritter. The middle, meanwhile, is soft and studded with sweet, slightly cinnamon-y soft apple bits. If you dare tackle this alone, it's more than breakfast - it's lunch, too.

The cake doughnuts are pleasantly dense and almost poundcake-like. The only hangup: The chocolate cake doughnut wasn't nearly chocolatey enough. The sweet, soft glaze was appropriately fudgy, but the doughnut beneath might as well have been vanilla. On the other hand, the cinnamon crumble doughnuts were as addictive as the fritter.


Young Donut Shop, 1043 N. Kolb Road, 298-0020

• Hours: 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays.

• Prices range from 69 cents to 74 cents for individual doughnuts to $6.39 a dozen; a half dozen is $3.99. Doughnut holes are $1 for a dozen.