Friday, January 25, 2008

coffee & chocolate

Alice and I were lucky enough that we got to try out one of the newest shops in downtown, Coffee & Chocolate, before it was officially open. The owner, Sharif Harb, was just trying to get everything set up and people just kept coming in. Harb was very nice about it and let us buy some tiramisu (though he locked the door after we left). That kind of crazy business on the first day was a good indicator of things to come.

We've gone back several times since Christmas, and place is almost always full. There's only a few tables so it fills up quick. Fortunately it doesn't take long to eat a desert, so there's a good turnover rate that guarantees a table will free up if you wait a few minutes. I like the ambiance of the shop- cozy and chic with warm colors and red pendant lights. The fact that it's usually crowded adds to the "cafe experience."

But it's coffee and the chocolate, as indicated by it's simple name, that are what keep bringing me back. The coffee is very good (but not the best), though there aren't any espresso drinks offered. So it's drip brewed or nothing. The hot chocolate, the overlap of the shop's two specialties, is where things start humming. It's good. Made with steamed milk, it will make you dump all of your powdered crap down the sink at home.

The deserts are extraordinary in general, but let me steer you away from some missteps. As you go back again and again (and you will) you'll inevitably want to explore around. My advice: stick to the chocolate things. Our first wonderful impressions were soiled a bit last Saturday with a bad cheesecake and lemon tart. Both tasted like they had been in a refrigerator too long and had lost their creaminess.

That being said, everything else is the best deserts [desserts] you'll find in downtown. The attention to detail is exquisite, so much so that you feel bad eating it. I highly recommend the tiramisu and chocolate cake. A second case has a "best of" offering from the South's Finest Chocolate Company. Hard to go wrong there.

Right around the corner from the Riviera Cinema, the shop is in just the right place to pick up lots of foot traffic from Market Square and Gay Street. I give it a hearty thumbs up. No evening downtown is complete without a stop by Coffee & Chocolate.

Rating:
8/10 wigs

6 comments:

em said...

Nice review, ck. an addendum: dessert is spelled with 2 SS. That's because you always want more.

stan said...

snap!

ck said...

no really, they have the best arid landscapes in town. and they have sweet stuff.
[update] contrary to what i said above, they do have an espresso machine. i went there after work for some hot chocolate. mmm mmmm!

brimer said...

i'm a fan. i almost cried when the original broadway store had a "for rent" sign in the window. then, i went downtown.

The Pol said...

its yummy goodness....ummmm coffee and chocoalte

RobHoward said...

I love it! A home away from home.