Friday, July 1, 2011

Hot Chocolate

What gentleman in the city hasn't taken (or thought of taking) their significant other to Hot Chocolate for a birthday (or romantic) meal. I had the subtle hint that this year it would be nice since it's now within walking distance. Unfortunately our internal hype expectations were a bit too high. We had a nice and romantic meal that was surprisingly filling with great service. The tables are crazy close and packed in and our food was quite ordinary. Even our dessert was pedestrian, though we did see some really good looking options (doughnuts?) as we walked out so maybe we simply ordered wrong. Since Hot Chocolate remains very busy all the time I'm guessing most people are there for Mindy's post meal specialty. We'd go back for dessert only and try many of the items we didn't get to, but we're likely to have the main course elsewhere.

We started with an order of mac n cheese. It's placed near the bottom of the menu in it's own category, but we didn't mind because there's rarely a mac n cheese we won't want to try. We thought about getting another starter or salad but our very friendly and helpful server suggested otherwise if we wanted room for dessert. The biggest disappointment with the dish was that it wasn't hot enough. We asked for a reheat and it still came out luke warm. Either that's the way they intended or someone wasn't getting the message. Otherwise we imagine that the creamy cheese would be very tasty with the noodles.

For our main courses we went with a combined surf and turf -  hamburger and trout (I think, can't quite remember...). The hamburger is house-ground heartland beef with organic bacon and widmer 4-year aged cheddar on a garlic toasted bun. It's a larger burger with a nice helping of chips and a tasty coleslaw. I wouldn't call it anything more than average or standard, but the bacon and cheese add nice flavor.

My trout was good but nothing special. The fish was well cooked and very mild. It came with mushrooms, risotto and a green sauce I can't remember the details of. There's nothing wrong with the fish. It's pretty good and well presented but a bit on the pricey side ($25). I did finish every last bite which may have been a mistake for not leaving a lot of room for desert.

Finally, what we waited for all night, was the dessert menu. There were plenty of options that looked great (doughnuts, peppermint, peanut butter cup, banana butterscotch, etc) as well as various forms of hot chocolate and milk shakes. We decided on only one and went with a special "engagement section" treat called "I love you"...Mint. (If you didn't know Mindy Segal is engaged and transformed her dessert menu to reflect her love and happiness - congrats! The dessert is a milk chocolate and peppermint frozen nougat in a minted brownie with peppermint patty, oreo/candy cane meringue and Fernet Branca pouring cream. The brownie crust and tasty brittle cookies on top were a nice compliment to the chocolate nougat (ice cream). We were a bit disappointed since we've had better and more interesting desserts elsewhere recently (think Sprout) and for cheaper. Our server was helpful with the birthday message after my not so subtle request. Next time we will choose a more traditional dessert or at least order more than one to get a nice sample.

We had a nice meal at Hot Chocolate but it was mostly average with a hint of fun. The scene and decor work well and I love the buzz (even if you are sitting inches from the tables next to you). The menu is not overly complicated with only a few options for dinner and more than you can handle for dessert. I believe Mindy and her crew know why people come to the restaurant and cater to their wishes. The food menu is pretty ordinary but can get the job done if you want a full meal. While our dessert didn't knock our socks off, there were plenty that could have (I hope). It's close by and fun so a repeat visit for sweets is highly likely.

Hot Chocolate on Urbanspoon

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