Rise, Doughnut Robots of New York
Rao Robot love
You already know about the beignet-like puffs at Dumont's little doughnut counter in Williamsburg (I like the ones tossed about in ginger-spiked sugar), and the excellent, warm cake rings at 606 R&D in Prospect Heights.
The Doughnuttery, a month-old shop in Chelsea Market, is also set up with a doughnut robot -- a small, countertop fryer that sends dough bobbing along in hot oil, flipping it over halfway through, and tossing it out when it's done. Honestly, I find the whole thing a bit mesmerizing, especially when the doughnuts are good.
Doughnuttery sells bite-size pieces ($10/dozen), hot and golden, fried to order. They come dusted in powdered sugar, but why not try the more interesting coatings, like cacao-nib-salt-black sugar or lavender-pistachio-vanilla. (I'd avoid the purple bacon sugar unless bacon-flavored lip balm sounds appealing.)
When Chelsea Market gets crowded, it can be as grim as getting on a subway car in rush hour, but if you can just push through and get yourself to the Doughnuttery's relatively peaceful spot, it's a lovely new place to feast on fried dough.