August 9th, 2009
Because a friend and I both purchased $50 for $25 coupons for co co. sala we decided to try their brunch and dinner. I will re-review/re-post ratings with the upcoming dinner, taking into account this brunch and the past two dinners that I have had there. I can’t believe that by the end of this, I will have gone to co co. sala four times! It’s really not that great of food, but it’s the novelty of going to a chocolate lounge. I met one of the managers/co-owner (?) at the “Best of Washingtonian” party about a month ago and told him that I did not enjoy my last experience there. He gave me a card and invited me back, but I was still hesitant. But then I saw the coupon deal and figured that I would get them another try (at half price). I took my friend there for her first time since she loves Brunch and I informed co co. sala ahead for time that I would be re-visiting for a special occasion.
My friend was running a little late, so I waited for her at the bar. The manager told me they were launching a new “bubbly” menu today and encouraged me to try one. I was torn between the ginger liquer (canton) and the chocolate/coconut/roobis tea one. In the end, I didn’t choose the canton one because it seemed a bit heavy for 11:30 in the morning. Once past the slight acidity of the champagne, the real subtle notes of chocolate and coconut were quite pleasant. I also liked the chocolate swirl accent that traveled through the glass with the level of liquid.
We were seated in the “back room”, and it was beautiful. Nice wooden tables with either stubby chairs on one end or cushy red crushed velvet booths on the other. Gold curtains separate most tables on at least one side, which leads an air of privacy that you wouldn’t expect in a lounge. The menus are also printed on beautiful iridescent paper and are substantial and of good quality.
Our server, Melissa, was attentive and friendly and had no qualms about sharing her likes and dislikes on the menu. We both ordered the prix fixe menu and shared each dish with each other. The amuse chocolat reminded me of a chocolate donut with a caramel sauce that had some hints of orange juice. Inside the fritter was a warm mini-volcano of chocolate. My friend ordered a frosted salted caramel co co since it was so hot outside, and it really hit the spot. It was the perfect richness and balance between salty and sweet.
The hotcake obsession was delightfully light and citrus-y, the perfect brunch fare. The pancakes were thinner and thicker and consistency than most household pancakes and had a texture similar to crepes. The lemon thyme butter with just a bit of the berry compote made this dish delicious.The S’Mores, which our server had warned was her least favorite dish, was alright. It was all just a little too much for a brunch meal. The french toast had a hole carved out of it which was oozing dark chocolate and had been stuffed with house-made marshmallows. Some bites of it had the texture of bread pudding because it had absorbed the marshmallow and chocolate, but at times it was too rich for even me. The milk chocolate mousse cracker and banana compote were separate from the french toast. I could have done without the milk chocolate mousse and wished the banana was served on the french toast because it was a bit awkward to keep going back and forth between the two.
By the time the last course came, we were completely stuffed. But, we had to make room for the delicious desserts! We each received a two choices of four desserts, so naturally we got all four so we could try them all! They were each all the perfect size and very rich. From left to right below: Pistachio panna cotta, raspberry/dark chocolate tart, triple chocolate mousse, and chocolate peanut butter “cup”. I liked the light flavor of the pistachio, but the peanut butter dessert was too rich. The triple mousse was alright, but the three different flavors weren’t distinct. The raspberry chocolate tart was the worst because it was plain and the pastry itself seemed store-bought. That, and I don’t care for hairy berries~.
co co. sala has an interesting and unique idea for brunch, and for $22 its a real deal. It might be just a tad too decadent for my taste, so I’ll reserve it for special occasions like an afternoon tea at the Ritz.