Liz Kerns / Lantern reporter
Scents of succulent cinnamon and dark chocolate filled my nostrils upon entering The Chocolate CafÃ©, a romantic local cafÃ© noted for its namesake confection.
From the minute I stepped into the cafÃ© for the first time, located at 1855 Northwest Blvd., I was greeted not just with tempting aromas, but also with warm and welcoming vibes.
Uncertainty ensued as I ogled at the European-inspired bakery cases lined with the finest chocolate, candies, macaroons, cakes, breads and tarts. Glass jars filled with rainbow-wrapped Hershey Kisses and speckled malted-milk balls lined the tops of each counter.
I soon realized it was 11 a.m. and thwarted my temptation with a new challenge for the employee behind the counter: What could I get at 11 a.m. that is wholesome and acceptable, yet still allows me to indulge in chocolate?
Once my uncertainties were voiced, the cashier did not hesitate to offer up a summary of salads, bagels and other brunch items offered at the cafÃ©. Most impressive, however, was the system of dining at this particular eatery.
Upon entrance, having only seen employees behind a counter alongside a cashier, I had preconceived a notion that I was in an assembly line restaurant, such as Chipotle or Piada. I was more than pleased when the cashier directed me and my party to take a seat. The wait was short-lived, and when the food was brought to the table, they even split the meal onto two separate plates, a courtesy most appreciated by my sister and I, because we wanted to share a meal.
If the above-and-beyond service hadn’t sold me by this point, I looked down and swooned over the diverse spread: the berry-spinach salad, a whole wheat bagel and a decadent chocolate mocha. The berry-spinach salad was simple, yet effective in content – a blend of baby spinach leaves, tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette and topped with strawberries, cranberries and bite-sized turkey cutlets.
I moved on to my next order of business, which was a toasted, whole-wheat bagel with a side of light cream cheese. I was astounded that the combination seemed to work so well. It was certainly a prize-worthy suggestion from the cashier – not too heavy with just enough wholesome food for brunch.
I topped it off with an ornate chocolate mocha that was frothy, warm, chocolatey and thick. It was served with a plastic spoon dipped in milk chocolate for stirring. I watched as the chocolate melted away more and more with each stir. It tasted simply sublime.
This layered chocolate espresso drink made my everyday Starbucks mocha look like 7-Eleven coffee. It was absolute bliss to drink. My only complaint was that I didn’t get a larger one.
Even though The Chocolate CafÃ© does not technically wait on its customers, I was pleased to be waited on by multiple employees during the course of the meal to suggest desserts and inquire about our dining experience. I never had to leave my seat for refills, napkins or anything, really. We were instructed to leave our dirtied plates and dishes on the table at the end for the employees.
To be served chocolate that I can only compare to the rich paintings of French Rococo, decadent in detail and frivolous in taste, was definitely worth the mid-morning trip to The Chocolate CafÃ©. The food was delectable, the atmosphere inspiring and the customer service was stellar. I would recommend this chic little cafÃ© to anybody who is looking to partake in a luxurious dining experience