The thought and work that go into Blue Star's offerings elevate them to a point where calling them doughnuts feels inaccurate; these are pastries, not the oily, mouth-coating sugar bombs you get on a dumb midnight run.

About 15 different pastries are on display through peak lunch hours, at which point options dwindle until they close, usually around 6 pm. Most are doughnuts—some filled—and a few are cakes. The Guinness devil's food cake ($2.50) is moist and dense but not overly rich, coated with a generous layer of the fresh, sticky ganache. A glazed citrus poppy cake ($2.50) has a fine crumb that is sandy but not dry, abundantly filled with seeds that pop like tiny caviar. Blue Star's apple fritter ($2.75) has a thick, caramelized outer crust like a canelé, little pockets of cinnamon-stewed apples, and a sweet interior with a satisfying chew.

p>The fried chicken doughnut is the only item that flopped as a concept. Boneless chicken breast, fried to order, is cubed, placed atop a glazed doughnut, topped with honey butter, and served with packets of Frank's RedHot. It's hard to eat, the batter flakes off the uninteresting meat, and I ended up feeling dispirited after three bites. It's an attempt at excess that feels very out of place in their otherwise sophisticated product line.

On the whole, Blue Star's focus on quality transforms the doughnut from a blatant, guilty junk food fix into something worth appreciating. And, since it's a Micah Camden venture (Little Big Burger), I wouldn't be surprised to see more of them popping up soon.

-CHRIS ONSTAD

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