Friday, April 26, 2013

Co Co. Sala

I did feel a little uncomfortable at the thought of going out for dinner with the intention of ordering nothing but dessert. Even I as a devoted fan of all things sweet cannot remember ever having completely skipped the savory part of a meal. What a relief it was to find out that Co Co. Sala does not even pretend to be anything but chocolate heaven! After we were done examining the extensive menu our waitress asked us straight out if we were ready for dessert. No mention of a starter or main course. Maybe she knew what we were up to when we order two flights of hot chocolate for "drinks". 

At this point I decided that my friend deserves her own nickname on this blog. After all, I hope she will accompany me on many future foodie experiences. So let's call her Ms. Tiramisu, indicative of what she usually goes for when we pick desserts. When it comes to chocolate, she is a dark chocolate person. That being said, even she was a little overwhelmed with what we had on our plates today.

Since Co Co. Sala specializes in artisanal chocolate and has its own chocolate boutique attached, that is what people come for. In part due to its lounge atmosphere, with red and dark brown earthy tones, it is very popular with couples and the girls'-night-out crowd. It was still bright outside when we arrived, but upon entering the dimmed lights transported us into what almost seemed like a chic upscale bar / night club. They serve happy hour snacks and cocktails from 5-7 pm, so it was busy with professionals in formal attire who stopped by for a drink after work. The hosts and waiters were all smiles, and we were served promptly in spite of the many occupied seats and tables.

The menu does include some salads and savory "bites", but I didn't see anyone order them. Even the cocktails sound like - and cost as much as the - dessert items. Just read the following description: "Fresh Strawberries, Chocolate-Infused Vodka, Strawberry Foam, Chocolate Dipped Berry". It was hard to hold back, but prices are not really student-budget-friendly at Co Co. Sala. So, instead, we opted for 6 different hot chocolates to taste, plus two main desserts.

The hot chocolates were: Milk, Dark, White, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter, and Chipotle. While we enjoyed the way they were presented (they most definitely caught the attention of couples at the neighboring tables), we had an even better time sampling each one with our tiny spoons. I usually prefer a silky, thick texture, which these did not have, but some of the flavors nevertheless surprised me. The peanut butter and salted caramel variations were the best, not only because both were served with a soft marshmallow, but because they tasted so unique. We felt adventurous trying the chipotle, but left most of it because it was truly - and a bit too - spicy. The milk, dark and white hot chocolates were pretty much what you'd expect. Nice. Nothing special. Now, had they been thicker I might have liked them so much more.

As a main dessert I ordered "Some More Co Co." which is a chocolate crème brulée with tiny toasted marshmallows and graham crumble, as well as a chocolate brownie and some sort of a malted chocolate shot (alcoholic). Ms. Tiramisu had the "Onyx", which I can only describe as a small cake consisting of dark chocolate mousse, vanilla crème brulée and salted caramel, with crispy chocolate pearls, brownie, a scoop of dark chocolate sorbet, and a cinnamon toffee bon bon. How much cocoa can someone possibly consume in one evening?

Both were very good and perfectly portioned. Because each plate had several components it really felt like we were tasting our way through the talented pastry chef's many creations. Especially the Onxy "cake" (I just don't have a better way of describing it, as it had a sponge-y center topped with caramel and surrounded by chocolate mousse) was outstanding, followed by the chocolate crème brulée, which had a wonderfully smooth texture. The dark chocolate sorbet was a little overpowering in terms of flavor, and it was so dense that it still kept its shape after we had left it untouched for 20 minutes. The cinnamon toffee bon bon had an interesting taste, and I loved how crisp the chocolate shell was. Both brownies were rich and... whatever else a good brownie should be. The malted chocolate shot? Not my favorite. It tasted a bit like Bailey's, but I didn't quite understand how it was supposed to fit into the composition. 

"Some More Co Co."

Overall, we each spent $ 24 for dessert, which means that Co Co. Sala is a venue for special occasions only. There is no doubt that it was worth the price, but then again we had serious cravings for salty food when we left and ended up going to District of Pi across the street for pizza.

Looking back we were glad to have been there, done that. Co Co. Sala has made such a name for itself and offers an experience that is out of the ordinary. But do we really need to go back? Probably not.

Brownie Points for the hot chocolate flights: 1 out of 3
Brownie Points for "Some More Co Co.": 2 out of 3
Brownie Points for the "Onyx": 3 out of 3
Brownie Points for the overall experience: 2 out of 3

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