Monday, March 1, 2010

Too much of a good thing - Chocolate Bar

A group of my friends get together every month-ish for what we call "ladies who do lunch."  It's much less white glove and floofy hat than your traditional ladies luncheon.  Basically we just like to have a fun name for our outings.

Our most recent "ladies" outing/birthday celebration (because February is full of birthday celebrations for me, don't you know), we ventured out to Chocolate Bar, the new chocolate-themed chain restaurant/martini bar that opened in the E.4th neighborhood.  As the birthday girl, I got to pick the location of our luncheon.  I was a little nervous about picking Chocolate Bar because if you read any of the online reviews, you get the impression that this is the worst restaurant ever based on service AND food quality.  But, I like chocolate - a lot - and I like trying new places - and 2010 is the year of "why the heck not," so we went on a Saturday afternoon.  There were only a handful of people there.  But I'd imagine E.4th isn't hopping during the day (unless it's St.Patrick's Day - it's March now - let the countdown begin!)

Since we were celebrating my birthday, I figured I had to try at least one of Chocolate Bar's signature martinis.  I started off with the coconut macaroon martini.  

As with any chocolate martini, it was delicious - and dangerous.  Why dangerous?  Chocolate martinis generally taste like chocolate milk - or in this case, chocolate coconut milk.  How easy is it to drink a glass of chocolate milk (in theory, for those of us who don't drink milk)  Pretty easy, right?  Which is why you can drink more chocolate martinis than you should in a very short amount of time.  (not that I know this from experience or anything...)

After we ordered our meals, I decided to try another one of the staples of Chocolate Bar - chocolate shots.  You can select from a smorgasboard of liquors and have a half ounce shot poured into an edible chocolate shot glass.
(what's with the one rose petal?)

I went with espresso vodka in a chocolate shot glass.  I like chocolate.  And I really like espresso vodka, so this was a WIN in my book. 

It seemed like we waited for a little whole to get our food, but maybe that was just my impression after the shot and the martini.  When my entree arrived - the chocolate baguette (one of the restaurant's signature dishes)- I was kind of disappointed.  The presentation was less than spectacular.  And when I took a bite, it got even worse.  Essentially, my baguette had melted chocolate in the center.  Olive oil was provided as a dipping sauce.  I'm all about adventurous eating these days, but baguette + chocolate+ oil = not so great.  It seemed like a meal a little kid would make if no one was around to supervise.  "Yay!  Let me put chocolate on anything!"

My friend had another one of the signature dishes - a pasta in a white chocolate cream sauce.  I'll never do the dish any justice by describing it.  It was actually really good - not a hint of chocolate - unlike in my meal. 

While eating my not so great lunch, I ordered another martini.  A chocolate peanut butter martini.

I expected peanut infused vodka...but instead, got spoonfuls of peanut butter in my martini glass.  A little odd...a little difficult to drink...but still tasty.

We all ordered dessert before ending our luncheon.  I mean, we sort of had to.  Who doesn't order dessert in a restaurant named after dessert?

I got a triple chocolate mousse cake type thing.  Again, presentation was a little odd but it tasted good.

We were all pretty happy with our desserts, leading me to the conclusion that this restaurant is great for boozing and dessert, but probably not a meal.  And although I like the concept, I'm not sure that I'd ever make another special trip to this restaurant...unless it's in a party bus on my next birthday for some drinks.

Have you been to this new restaurant yet?  If so, I'd love to hear your take on it.


  1. You should blame the chocolate baquette with olive oil on the restaurant and not on the concept. Ferran Adria had a recipe like that in one of his cook books. I think he added a little bit of salt. I've never tried it but it sounded promising to me. Perhaps, it's all about the execution. Of course, it still doesn't really sound like an entree to me. More of a snack.

    Jonathan Gold just put a chocolate baguette on his list of 99 things to eat in LA before you die. The bakery in question used salted butter, which I believe is quite common in France. Some olive oils have a buttery flavor which lends some more credibility to the Chocolate Bar's concept.

    Happy Birthday

  2. I agree that the concept is good...there was a little bit of saltiness to the baguette, but not enough to make me want to keep eating it. I think that if this recipe were tweaked a bit and the sandwich was paired with anything other than broken Lays potato chips, I may have enjoyed it more.

    Thanks for the birthday wishes.