In the District: CoCo Sala

25 Feb

I think I’ve been a chocoholic all my life. My mother told me she craved chocolate during her pregnancy with me, so I must’ve been born with it running through my veins. It’s now a symbiotic relationship in which I can’t go more than a day without at least a lick of cocoa.

So when a place like CoCo Sala pops up in a nearby neighborhood in DC, you’ve got to assume I’ll make my reservations a.s.ap. And I did, last year, and I’ve been a regular ever since.

True to it’s name, the foundation of CoCo Sala’s dishes is chocolate, even it’s savory, tapas-style entrees that range from fresh mini-salads to sliders to even three different types of mac n’ cheeses.  And oh-em-gee, are their mac n’ cheeses scrumptious.  They have a bacon mac n’ cheese that I find difficult not to order every time; it has creamy shells under a crumbly topping, which is topped off with a chocolate-covered piece of bacon.  Their sliders are equally excellent.  They have a swordfish slider with tender fish, fennel, and a light mayo perfect for dipping into.  I’m also a fan of their Portobello flatbread, which for a vegetarian dish is surprisingly filling.  The bread is layered with Portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, greens, and a savory yet slightly sweet fig sauce.

Arugula salad with a coffee vinaigrette

And that’s only the savory stuff.  The sweet stuff is of course in abundance here, where you can get 4 different “Mondes” or worlds of chocolate boasting influences from Asia, Italy, Mexico and America.  Each Monde comes in 3 parts, starting with an amuse bouche, then a multi-part main, and then petit fours to end off with.  The one I tend to order the most is the American, called the “CoCo Grown-Up”: small versions of favorite American desserts, only matured to a fancier form.  It starts with a little Boston Cream donut, then goes on to a platter with Bananas Foster, peanut butter ice cream with chocolate sauce, a chocolate cupcake, and tiny chocolate shake.  The petit fours are a strawberry cheesecake covered in milk chocolate and sprinkled with Pop Rocks (yes, Pop Rocks) and tiny chocolate cup filled with mint mousse.  Every bite of each part is rich and decadent, just how dessert should be.

The "CoCo Grown-Up"

I love that the tiny portions allow you to sample several different desserts in one sitting, rather than gorging on one large dessert. Each piece is designed and arranged to look gourmet and grown-up. But certain flavors like the peanut butter ice cream or the sensation of Pop Rocks exploding on your tongue, certainly bring you back to the time when you didn’t have to think twice about indulging on dessert. At CoCo Sala, it’s not an option.  You simply must have dessert.

Mini Boston Creme donut with coffee panna cotta

*I didn’t even touch on their signature cocktails (the Cocojito is nice chocolatey spin on the mojito), their other savory options (CHEESE!), or their other desserts (yes there are more).  Check them out at


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