kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits & lifestyle writer / wine educator

703.203.9463

And the sweet goes on

Last evening I went to Co Co Sala's press dinner. The opening of this restaurant, billed as DC's first and only "chocolate lounge," has been the buzz all over town for months.

The interior doesn't disappoint--gorgeous red and brown towns give a sumptuous, sleek, warm look. Co Co is divided into two main rooms--head left as you enter, and you'll see a row of banquettes, and a bar that runs the length of them. Head right, and you'll see the other side of the same bar. But this room has more of the loungey vibe, with lower tables and softer, velvet seating. Gas fires are alit, casting a warm glow. Two flat screen TVs behind the bar show chocolate being poured and made into confections (don't ask the bartender to turn on the Nationals game--they don't get cable. So it's all chocolate, all the time.)

Co Co's menu has small bites divided into four categories, with three selections of each: salads, sliders, mac and cheese and crabcakes. The lobster salad was lovely, with lemon aioli and avocado atop corn bread. And I'm a sucker for sliders--the bleu cheese and beef were my fave.

But chocolate aficionados come here for the five course "monde du chocolat," which is basically a chocolate tasting menu. Choose from Italian, Indian, Aztec or Childhood Favorites, and then the fun begins. An amuse bouche, the main dessert, an intermezzo, a cheese course (the only savory one out of five) and some petit fours. I tried most of all five courses from each of the four options, and it was palate overload. But there were a lot of winners. The five course monde du chocolate goes for 30 bucks, by the way.

There are lots of options to sip with all of this sugar and caffeine--Co Co pretty much provides an "elixir" pairing for each item on the menu. Their take on the mojito substitutes vanilla vodka for the rum, and adds chocolate shavings--I thought it was really refreshingly tasty without being sickening sweet, as I half-expected it to be.

We sipped Fumello Prosecco during the Monde du Chocolat. I had never had this Prosecco before, and it's nice tropical fruit overtones (I'm thinking pineapple, but I just couldn't put my finger on it...) were really pleasant.
Whenever I go back, I think it'll be for just desserts--maybe after some kind of special dinner someplace else. The small plates are kind of tiny and a bit pricey to sit and nosh on them all evening. But Co Co Sala is lounge in the truest sense of the word, and an inviting place to spend an hour or two and get your sugar on.