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Two Tried and True: JAPANEIRO and SWEETS RAKU

Sometimes, you just want an old reliable.

Or, if not a particularly “old” reliable, a relatively new one that you can trust to deliver the goods as well as the last time you were there.

And when the craving hits for a hunk o’ hunk o’ burnished beef (and you don’t wish to brave the Strip on a weekend’s eve) there’s nothing like Kevin Chong’s menu at Japaneiro (above) — one of the true treasures of local gastronomy.

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Quality is diametrically opposed to quantity. – Lionel Poilâne

We recently were talking doughnuts with a prominent local chef.

“What’s the best one you ever had?” we asked.

“A little shop in a small town in Texas,” he replied. “All they sold was a small, right-from the fryer yeast doughnut, with a vanilla glaze that melted in your mouth. The line was down the street every day for them.”

“And you?” he shot back at us.

We returned the volley fast without missing a beat: “The Downyflake in Nantucket, Massachusetts. They only did three, small cake doughnuts every morning: plain, sugar and chocolate glazed. So rich, yet so light and tender and soft they practically evaporated in the mouth. Never had anything close before or since.”

And yes, there was a line out the door every day for our ethereal little circles of carbo-sugared bliss on Nantucket, just like there was for the chef’s favorite in Texas.

What was the common denominator(s): size and perfection. The pleasure of eating something human scale, made with love, and with a commitment to quality over quantity.

As you can see above, none of these prerequisites of refinement burden the operation at Donut Bar, where the doughnuts are, first and foremost, big.

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