I’ve decided that I spend too much time in the same New York City neighborhoods — Bushwick, Williamsburg and the Lower East Side — and that 2-3 times per month I am going to venture to uncharted territories (aka neighborhoods I don’t know well) and just get lost. This past weekend I explored Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill in Brooklyn.
I took the G train to Smith-9th Street, and exited toward Court Street. While the parallel road of Smith Street seemed to be the main artery of the hood, Court Street also had much to offer, and I specifically wanted to try brunch at the much hyped Buttermilk Channel (524 Court Street). Sadly, my grumbling tummy couldn’t handle the 45-minute wait time, and so I continued on.
What I loved about Court Street (well, usually would have loved, aside for the fact I was starving) is that it had so much more to offer than just restaurants and bars, something I commonly find in NYC. Instead, there were antique shops, boutiques, toy stores and book stores lining the path. Tip: BookCourt is a must stop, with a great book selection and a fun shelf of staff picks and discounted bestsellers. I bought “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed for about $10!
Eventually I found a restaurant to suit my needs, Enoteca On Court, where I had a delicious artichoke salad and chicken stuffed with mozzarella, prosciutto and asparagus made in a giant wood fire oven. Immediately after, my sweet tooth began screaming. Luckily, only three blocks away I came to possibly the epicenter of chocolate in Brooklyn: The Chocolate Room.
Immediately upon entering the venue at 269 Court Street I could see women behind the counter whipping up fresh chocolates by hand, while a wooden shelf across from them stocked beautifully-wrapped chocolate bars in colorful butcher paper. Up above, chalk board signs recited daily offerings, while a see-through display case enticed patrons with chocolatey treats.
Instead of grabbing something to go, I wandered into the back of the red brick art-adorned cafe, sitting at a small circular marble-topped table that reminded me of something I’d find in Paris. The menu is separated into different sections, from house-made ice creams to Fair Trade coffees to shakes to desserts, but all have one thing in common: chocolate.
My companion and I opted for a few different items, including an almond cake glazed in hot chocolate and gowned in buttery caramel, a scoop of homemade mint chip ice cream (which had a tasty floral note to it) and a creamy hot chocolate float made with dark hot chocolate; however, the star of the show, at least for me, was the “Cafe´ Lou,” featuring half a cup of Fair Trade coffee and a half cup of their house-melted dark hot chocolate made with bittersweet Belgian chocolate blended with Valrhona cocoa powder and whole milk. The sweet caffeine boost was decadent but logical (I was starting to get tired), so I didn’t feel the guilt I normally would having a thick steaming cup of cocoa. My favorite cup of hot chocolate in New York City is Max Brenner, and this tied, if not surpassed, that rating.
If you’re in the mood to imbibe, most menu items come with a suggested pairing off their delicious list of fortified wines and stouts. Any place that emphasizes my three favorite things in the world — sustainable coffee, ethical chocolate and booze — is a top recommendation in my book.
Have you been to The Chocolate Room? What were your thoughts? Please share in the comments below.
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