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The Chocolate Room: Transcendent

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shivohum Jul 14, 2008 10:37 AM

The Chocolate Room is an incredible chocolate-centered dessert cafe which serves cakes, cookies, ice cream, shakes, hot chocolate, and the like in a sleek if somewhat cramped Cobble Hill space (this is their second location; their first is in Park Slope). We started with a Valrhona chocolat sorbet, which was soft, served just at the right temperature, and had beautiful floral chocolate notes.

I tasted a small, thick, round, soft chocolate walnut cookie, which was moist and tasty. For a main course, we had a brownie sundae, probably the best of its type I have ever had. The brownie, which was warm and light, seemed an ethereal expression of chocolate that melded perfectly with the denser hot fudge beneath it, the cool refreshing vanilla ice cream above it, and the crowning, luscious whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top. All five layers together were a transporting sonata, a meditation on chocolate, cream, eggs, texture, and temperature that was transcendent.

That finished up the "meal," but there is so much more I want to try there. Perhaps the hot chocolate made with Guittard and bourbon vanilla, or the milkshakes, or the tantalizing-looking chocolate cake. But I am without a doubt that this place rocks.

The Vegetarian New Yorker: http://vegny.blogspot.com/

  1. s
    Semele Dec 7, 2008 04:34 PM

    I've never had snobby or poor service at the Park Slope location, and the woman who makes the desserts behind the bar is really nice. I really enjoy their brownie sundae and the chocolate fondue. The banana split and some of the specials I've tried have been rather average. It's a good date spot.

    1. p
      psrope_kimchiruva Nov 26, 2008 05:52 PM

      sorry, i live a block away and probably go about once a month, really, it's not all that. they seem to do well because there's not much competition for dessert places in the area.

      i enjoy the brownie sundae and the woman behind the bar making the treats seems very nice. the service otherwise is inconsistent at best. honestly, some of the staff have to tone down the snob factor. this is brooklyn people, not soho.

      9 Replies
      1. re: psrope_kimchiruva
        c
        cjd260 Dec 1, 2008 01:31 PM

        I checked out this place with my fiancee on Friday and have to agree with this post and the above comments by mfsot and Peter: we were neither disappointed nor blown away by the food, but if the servers redirected half of their efforts from turning their noses at you into actually, um, serving, the place would be ten times better.

        In brief: we waited patiently at the sign telling us to wait to be seated. After a couple of minutes, a woman walked in with a backpack, nodded hello to a waitress, sat down at a table and ordered on the spot. We figured this meant open seating so we began to walk towards a couple of open tables at the back of the restaurant, to be told by the same waitress that they had no space available and we had to wait up front. It took another five minutes to be seated at one of those open tables (she put down menus and napkins in the interim), and another ten to order, by which point the lady who walked past us earlier had been served her second order.

        I know this isn't a unique experience in New York, and it's always possible that the woman was the owner, but the last thing you want in a place you go to smother yourself in chocolate and forget about the world is a reminder of New York social pecking orders.

        Pass.

        1. re: psrope_kimchiruva
          m
          MShapiro Dec 3, 2008 12:45 PM

          “…there's not much competition for dessert places in the area...” Are you serious? You have Sweet Melissa directly across the street, Marquette & Margaret Palca two blocks down, the Italian Bakery on Degraw, the crepe place on Smith, all of which are better then Chocolate Room IMO.

          1. re: MShapiro
            oolah Dec 3, 2008 03:08 PM

            Crepe place? Do tell.

            1. re: oolah
              m
              MShapiro Dec 4, 2008 10:56 AM

              The French place on the corner of Smith & maybe Sackett? It's near Video Free Brooklyn and they have lots of deserts - the name slips me.

              Nehna - psrope_kimchiruva made it sound like that part of CH/CG is a dessert desert and that is completely untrue - many options abound. I’ll agree to disagree with you and say my favorite place out of the lot is Marquette.

              1. re: MShapiro
                v
                vatl619 Dec 4, 2008 01:49 PM

                i think you're talking about provence en boite for crepes? among other things too...it is good, but for straight up dessert, i also really dont think it compares with the chocolate room.

                1. re: MShapiro
                  n
                  Nehna Dec 4, 2008 04:01 PM

                  I never commented on Marquette...I said Sweet Melissa's is inferior. I've never had more than the occasional cookie or coffee at Marquette. What do you enjoy so much there?

                  1. re: Nehna
                    m
                    MShapiro Dec 5, 2008 10:23 AM

                    They're baked goods; cookies, cakes and muffins.

              2. re: MShapiro
                n
                Nehna Dec 3, 2008 06:42 PM

                Chocolate Room is SO much better than Sweet Melissa's....

                1. re: MShapiro
                  b
                  BGRose Dec 4, 2008 02:33 AM

                  I've never eaten there, so can't comment on the service. But their chocolate cake and cupcake (which is basically a smaller version of the cake) are superb. So is their bittersweet hot chocolate (which I understand will soon be available as a mix).

              3. b
                bklynite Aug 29, 2008 02:37 PM

                I'm considering ordering a chocolate cake from The Chocolate Room for a party. I have no doubt the cake itself would be fabulous. I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience with them service-wise. It's for a special event and the cake would have to be delivered to DUMBO. I'm also considering Almondine, but my guess is that it'll be much pricier and might be too fancy for my purposes. I'm not looking for a ganache-type cake, but a more traditional chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting. Any thoughts?

                2 Replies
                1. re: bklynite
                  Peter Aug 29, 2008 07:06 PM

                  Three thoughts:

                  1. When I was there, while I didn't love the food (see above) I did chat with the owner and she seems very earnest and very eager to do things properly. Maybe ask for her when you call so you can create a bit of a rapport with her?

                  2. Maybe your party prep won't allow for it, but maybe you can walk up there and then take a cab back with the cake? Cabs are plentiful just 1 block away on Clinton Street. (I promise you won't wait more than 90 seconds for a cab.)

                  3. As an alternative to The Chocolate Room might you consider the salted caramel chocolate cake from Baked? You can get it from Baked down in Red Hook or save yourself the trip and see if you can get it from Tazza on Clark between Henry and Hicks (they have whole cakes from Baked to sell by the slice -- I'm sure they'd sell the whole cake if it's arranged in advance.)

                  Good luck with your event!

                  Peter
                  http://www.FlashlightWorthyBooks.com

                  1. re: Peter
                    b
                    bklynite Sep 8, 2008 10:34 AM

                    Now that the event is over, I'm happy to reply with thanks, and let you know that the cake was delivered exactly as promised and was delicious! Everyone I dealt with at the Chocolate Room was nice and easy to deal with and I'd definitely recommend it.

                2. healaeats Aug 23, 2008 10:52 AM

                  I will throw in my hat as a big fan of the Chocolate Room. Honestly though, I've had trouble getting past the chocolate sorbet. If you are a dark chocolate person, it's really the best option out there-tastes just like a melted, cool bar of high quality dark.
                  It's actually getting to a point of obsession-the Chocolate Room is so close to home, and on a hot summer day...
                  i did however manage to try the chocolate chip cookies as well and found them also very, very good. I'm a bit of a chocolate fiend, and this is probably the best addition to the neighborhood in a long time.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: healaeats
                    m
                    Matt M. Aug 27, 2008 10:02 AM

                    We've only tried a box of assorted chocolates so far. They were great; a very interesting and delicious variety.

                    By comparison, has anyone tried the new extension of Sweet Melissa's (I forget the name) with icecream and the like?

                    1. re: Matt M.
                      oolah Aug 30, 2008 09:46 AM

                      Chocolate Room ice cream is MUCH better with higher quality ingredients and made fresh than the Sweet Melissa stuff. The main issue with CR ice cream is that the texture is a bit too icy and not creamy enough.

                      Neither holds a candle to Blue Marble.

                      1. re: oolah
                        n
                        Nehna Aug 30, 2008 10:05 AM

                        hmm...I do agree that I would like the CR ice cream to be a little creamier. But I still have to disagree. The mint chocolate ice cream at CR is far tastier than any of the flavors I've had at Blue Marble, though I'm a big fan of their ice creams too.

                        1. re: Nehna
                          oolah Aug 30, 2008 10:10 AM

                          That mint ice cream at CR is the best of the flavors they make. It tastes like the pure essence of a fresh mint leaf and is *really* refreshing, but I just can't get past the lack of creaminess.

                          I haven't tried any minty flavors at Blue Marble, but the blackberry is probably the best ice cream I've ever had anywhere.

                          1. re: oolah
                            n
                            Nehna Aug 30, 2008 10:15 AM

                            I haven't had the blackberry, I'll have to try that. I love the ginger and the strawberry at BM.

                            I wish we could cross the creamy BM ice cream with the flavor at CR ;)

                  2. m
                    mfsot Aug 23, 2008 08:35 AM

                    I went here for the first time last night and have to say for the money was less than enthused. The service was slow, it seemed like they had one poor waitress working the whole joint by herself. The brownie sundae that was supposedly to die for didn't do much for me and my gf, I think this had more to do with the ice cream though. The special sandwhiches were alright, I got a peanut butter cookie and banana rum ice cream in the middle. Again the ice cream was lacking in flavor, the idea sounded great. I actually had to ask for some hot fudge to dip it in to make it taste better.

                    For the $40 (without alcohol) I would've rather tacked half of that onto my dinner check and had the same quality dessert or maybe even better. As far as atmosphere, it's pretty cozy, you're sitting shoulder to shoulder with others, it could be a romantic place for ending a date, we got some chocolates to take home and they were good, but pricey. It seems like a place to go for some chocolates and wine which I think is the main point that gets confused with about average desserts.

                    Also, we didn't order alcohol but 2 cappuccinos and a hot chocolate and it took forever to get all of them, if you're going to have us wait 30 min for our dessert at least give us our drinks timely... didn't get them until literally right before our desserts. Maybe we hit it on a bad night, maybe a waitress called in sick, I'll try it again but stick towards wine and chocolates.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: mfsot
                      Peter Aug 23, 2008 02:04 PM

                      Mfsot-

                      I'm more inclined to agree with you than the other posters.

                      I stopped by The Chocolate Room after Lucali a few weeks ago. The staff was really, really nice -- including the owner. The service was lovely, though we were sitting right up front at the bar.

                      But the food? The food was kind of... uninteresting. Maybe I just have more of a sweet tooth than most but the 2 desserts we ordered, plus the hot fudge they let me sample, plus the "amuse" they gave us when we came in -- not a single one of them really did it for me.

                      I'll have to try it again though -- lots of other rave about it.

                      Peter
                      http://www.FlashlightWorthyBooks.com

                      1. re: Peter
                        n
                        Nehna Aug 23, 2008 07:20 PM

                        The mint chocolate ice cream at Chocolate Room is down right transcendent. If that was the only thing they sold I'd consider the place worthy of visiting, that is how much I love the stuff. It tastes like pure frozen mint (akin to eating a frozen mojito) with shards of excellent dark chocolate.

                        I've never even been a fan of mint chocolate ice cream prior........

                        Other than that, I've only had ice cream shakes and chocolates. And always to go. But everything has always been great....the food, the staff, etc.

                    2. n
                      Nehna Jul 15, 2008 02:52 PM

                      We stopped in for an excellent banana milkshake to go, and picked a handful of chocolates too. Everything was delicious. I'm so glad we suddenly have so many cute options in the area for dessert after dinner (when you include One Girl, Blue Marble, etc).

                      1. b
                        bklynite Jul 15, 2008 02:48 PM

                        I've somehow never been able to get past my love for their chocolate pudding to order anything else. But I tried my daughter's brownie and it was pretty fabulous. I'm pretty thrilled that I don't have to shlep to the Slope anymore, as the new location is much closer. Although perhaps getting some exercise before and after indulging wasn't such a bad thing!

                        1. e
                          elecsheep9 Jul 14, 2008 11:28 AM

                          I am a big fan of the Chocolate Room (the Park Slope original.)

                          I adore the Brownie Sundae and think the Valrhona sorbet is amazing. However, I once tried the milk shake and found it to be extremely disappointing. It was very thin and overly milky. A rare negative for one of my favorite places to indulge.

                          We had them make 200 or so brownies as favors for our wedding. They were very accommodating, gave us a fair price, and the brownies stayed moist and fresh in the wrapping for days!

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