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report on The Chocolate Bar


Restaurants & Bars 2

report on The Chocolate Bar

sushimom | Oct 6, 2002 07:00 PM

I was pleasantly surprised by my experience at The Chocolate Bar at Le Meridien yesterday. This is an all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet that has gotten good publicity for a number of years. While I like chocolate, I always order something else for dessert because most restaurants aren't very creative with it, so my expectations were kind of low. But the Chocolate Bar was a fun way to sample many different presentations and I did not wind up feeling grossed out and chocolate-averse. For people who say they "love chocolate" I bet it is great. The chocolate bread pudding was made with croissants and was excellent (thanks Maura and chilibug for the reco.). The creme brulee was only faintly chocolate but was flavored with mint and ?thai basil?-a bit strange but really quite good. A pear and anise flavored charlotte-type cake was good and the Mexican chocolate soup was great (more interesting and richer than Burdick's hot chocolate, which is its closest relative). The chocolate crepes were fine but not worth the wait in line in my opinion. I wish they had the fruit for the crepes available without the line, since the raspberries were superb. They had tarts with a layer of caramel and a layer of chocolate that were slightly salty (a la Pierre Herme) that I liked quite well, although not everyone at the table cared for the salt. Martini glasses with chocolate pudding topped with a passionfruit puree was an interesting presentation that some at our table enjoyed. The Paris Brest (creme puff shell with hazelnut and chocolate buttercream filling) was also a hit with some, as were molten chocolate cakes and a New York style marble cheesecake. The brown sugar glazed bananas were good. There were probably 8 cakes that I didn't sample. I was surprised by the lack of nuts, since roasted hazelnuts or almonds are so good with chocolate, but it looked like this might have been deliberate, and there were obvious signs warning about nuts in the few dishes in which they appeared. All in all it was a very pleasant way to spend an hour and a half. Very nice atmosphere, good coffee, and $23 a head. Reservations recommended, but the place was never more than half full while we were there from 1-2:30 (they seat people from 12-3).

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