City Pulse

By Jen Wos

Whoever had enough free time to figure out that ‘stressed’ spelled backwards is ‘desserts’ probably missed out on the last piece of flourless chocolate truffle cake. A damn shame since that decadent cross between brownies and fudge is more than a sweet treat. M&M’s “melt in your mouth, not in your hand” schpeel has got nothin on this cake’s 56% chocolate decadence.

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For the Cocoa Bar’s owner, Liat, serving high quality chocolate didn’t mean you had to have high maintenance atmosphere. “We didn’t want to be pretentious,” she states – and they’ve certainly succeeded. The joint isn’t a crushed-red-velvet-chair-purse-your-lips-to-get-in-the-door type of place. It has a genuine, cozy neighborhood-feel which probably contributes to its already bustling business after barely a week of being open. Whether you’re looking for a perfect date spot, or you just have a chocolate craving no Snickers can fix, the Cocoa Bar will surely deliver a deliciously satisfying experience.

Everything’s high quality and handmade at Cocoa Bar, and it shows. Its passion for chocolate runs far deeper than the passion fruit bon bons, which, in a bite, leave you with a craving for an aquamarine beach. Its companion, the Prosecco sparkling wine, completes the lightheaded wonder of a tropical daydream.

If you’re feeling more avant-garde and just got your boyfriend to tear himself away from his new Animé collection or you’re looking for the perfect nightcap to a sushi dinner, try the white chocolate wasabi truffles paired with Gekkeikan Horin sake. For those of you who just gasped in horror at the idea of that spicy green paste in your dessert, hold your chopsticks! It’s not spicy at all. There’s a wonderful creaminess mixed with a slight zing that makes your palate sing.

For you chocolate junkies, try the Five-piece Chocolate Flight, which tantalizes your tongue with 56%, 63%, 72%, 85%, and 100% pure solid dark chocolate. The recommended pairing is with sherry; we tried it with port. (Dispel the image you conjured up of your uncle at the last family reunion with his glass of port – this is some good stuff!)…Back to the chocolate, each one in the range has distinct nuances that may leave you and your date debating which is the ultimate piece, which may mean you need a second round to make a final decision…and maybe a third and a fourth. Eh, it could be habit-forming. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Not a drinker? Try the Cocoa Bar’s gourmet coffees or iced hot chocolate. Not a wine fine? Try its cocktails, which take an interesting twist on the original recipes since none contain hard liquor. Sip away at a blueberry and black pepper mojito or an extra spicy Bloody Mary, and see if you can tell what replaced the rum and vodka. They’ve been taste-tested to ensure that it’ll taste so good, you won’t even care.

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To put it quite simply, as one guest in our party did, “You can’t overload, and if you do, there’s always the cucumber saketini!

See it for yourself in either the original Park Slope location or the newest one on the Clinton St. on the Lower East Side. For more information and more pictures to whet your appetite, check out their website at: www.cocoabarnyc.com/index2.html.

Originally published May 2007
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