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An Early Look at Co Co. Sala (With Menus)
Comments () | Published May 13, 2008
On March 14, 2006, Nisha Sidhu made her pitch to longtime friend Bharet Malhotra. She wanted to open a chocolate lounge—and wanted him to sign on as her business partner. Sidhu would bring the dessert skills—she had completed L’Academie de Cuisine’s pastry-arts program and worked as special-events pastry chef and chocolatier at 2941 in Falls Church—and Malhotra, a vice president of sales at a software company who has lived all over the world, would provide the business savvy.

More than two years later, their chocolate-focused lounge and restaurant, Co Co. Sala, opened last Friday in DC’s Penn Quarter. How does Malhotra remember the exact date when the chocolatey plan was hatched? He laughs: “It happened at my birthday brunch.”


While dessert lounges have sprung up in New York and Las Vegas, Co Co. Sala will be DC’s first foray into the world of dessert tasting menus complete with wine and cocktail pairings. To run the kitchen, the owners recruited pastry chef Santosh Tiptur, whom Sidhu had met at a pastry conference, from the Ritz-Carlton in Puerto Rico.

There are a choice of five $30 five-course tasting dessert menus to choose from, all of which riff on a different theme. The Italian voyage menu includes an amuse bouche of vanilla panna cotta with chocolate-praline soup, followed by three flavors of tiramisu, an intermezzo of lemon sorbet, parmigiano reggiano three ways, and a petit four plate of Tuscan ricotta bites. Tiptur’s menu at Co Co. also has a savory side, with snacky foods like variations on sliders and mac and cheese. “We realized that after work, some people wouldn’t be craving something like tiramisu,” Malhotra says. “We wanted to incorporate some salty, savory foods.” Still, Co Co.’s namesake ingredient sneaks its way into dishes such as crab cakes with chipotle-chocolate-tomato glaze, and bleu-cheese beef sliders with Mexican-chocolate sauce.

Coffee is also a focal point of the space, which hopes to draw morning business crowds with its breakfast pastries and local brews from Caffe Pronto in Annapolis. There’s also a wide selection of tea from the Tea Source in Seattle and, naturally, a dozen different hot chocolates.

A glass-enclosed “chocolate room” is like a grown-up version of that ride at Hershey Park where you get to peek into the magical chocolate factory. Watch the chocolatiers create chocolate sculptures and coat bonbons—perhaps filled with peanut butter and jelly or Linzer jam—in the “enrobing machine.” Malhotra says they hope to offer chocolate-making classes in the future.

In addition to jewelry-store-like cases filled with pastries and chocolates, decorative accents around the sleek lounge include colorful sugar sculptures created by Sidhu and two flat-screen TVs displaying artsy photos of some of Co Co.’s confections. The screens will also serve as Co Co’s high-tech chalkboards, announcing each day’s specials.

Co Co. Sala, 929 F St., NW; 202-347-4265; cocosala.com.

Monde du Chocolat

 

Chocolate Maya
A Passage to India  $30

AMUSE
Chocolate jelebi with badaam milk foam

MAIN DESSERT
White chocolate ras
malai cube with carrot halwa

INTERMEZZO
Frozen mango lassi on mint mango salad 

CHEESE COURSE
Pannir three ways, raita and mini papadums

PETIT FOURS
Milk and dark chocolate kulfi bon bons 

COCKTAIL
"Disia lychee rose  $12

WINE
Groove Mill Riesling  $10

TEA
Chai  $4

 

Ciocco
Italian Voyage  $30

AMUSE
Vanilla panna cotta and chocolate praline soup

MAIN DESSERT
Flavors of tiramisu: fraise de bois, classic, and chocolate 

INTERMEZZO
Lemon sorbet with chocolate nest 

CHEESE COURSE
Parmigiano reggiano three ways, fig and pesto toast

PETIT FOURS
Tuscan ricotta bites and chocolate dipped ameretti 

COCKTAIL
"C3fix" coffee, chocolate  $12

WINE
Fumello Prosecco  $12

COFFEE
Ethiopia Yirgacheffe  $4 

 

Xocolatyl
Aztec Experience  $30

AMUSE
Churros with cinnamon cream and dulce de leche dip

MAIN DESSERT
Hot chocolate souffle with fiery chocolate center and kahlua soother 

INTERMEZZO
Papaya and lime margarita sorbet with chocolate sticks

CHEESE COURSE
Pepper cheese enchilada with guava sauce 

PETIT FOURS
Chocolate-infused horchata and Mexican wedding cookies 

COCKTAIL
"Melangeur" cantaloupe  $12

WINE
Taylor Fladgate 10 yrs.  $10 

COFFEE
Guatemala Huehuetenango  $4 

 

Co Co. Grown Up
Childhood Favorites   $30

AMUSE
Mini Boston creme doughnut with espresso jigglers 

MAIN DESSERT
Milk chocolate, pb & banana foster split, mini co co. cupcake, and malted shooter

INTERMEZZO
Orangesicle and chocolate caviar 

CHEESE COURSE
Mini grilled cheese and tomato soup 

PETIT FOURS
Mint chocolate chip cone, strawberry cheesecake lolly 

COCKTAIL
"Pomme a la mode"  $12

CHAMPAGNE
Yellowglen pink  $10

COFFEE/TEA
Mocha java  $4 

Co Co Bites

 

Mac & Cheese  $6

BACON
Orechiette/four cheeses/crispy bacon/creole spices

SHRIMP
Mini penne/jack & cheddar/garlic shrimp/jalapenos

CLASSIC
Elbow mac/cheddar & parmesan/fresh sage/cream cheese crust

 

Crab Cakes  $6

CRISPY LOUISIANA
Mango salsa/chipotle chocolate tomato glaze/avocado cilantro emulsion

CHESAPEAKE JUMBO LUMP
Coffee mustard/creme fraiche/micro greens blend

COCONUT CRAB CAKE
Basil and chocolate mayo/baby greens

 

Sliders  $6 

SPICY MOROCCAN SWORDFISH
Fennel salad/aged pecorino/hazelnut coffee dressing/parmesan roll

BLUE CHEESE BEEF BURGER
Chocolate Mexican sauce/sauteed spinach/wild mushrooms 

TANDOORI CHICKEN PATTIES
Cocoa spiced celeriac/cardamom carrots and greens 

 

Salads  $6

MANCHEGO & BABY ARUGULA
Caramelized walnuts/dates/pears and oranges/coffee-balsamic vinaigrette 

GOAT CHEESE & BEETS
Yellow & red beets/greens/apples/maracaibo nibs/cranberry vinaigrette

MAINE LOBSTER SALAD
Lemon aioli/cucumber/crushed avocado/greens/cornbread/passion-chocolate vinaigrette 

Hot and Frozen Chocolate Collection

THE HOT CO CO. FLIGHTS   $8 Trio

Dark Chocolate with 65 percent Cocoa
Milk Chocolate with 38 percent Cocoa
White Chocolate with 33 percent Cocoa 

 

THE HOT CANDY BAR FLIGHT   $8 Trio

Coconut Co Co.
Peanut Butter Co Co.
Mint Co Co.  

 

CO CO. COLLECTION    $6 Each

Salted caramel
Earl Gray
White berry
Java
Chipotle
Chai white 

 

CHEF'S SELECTION OF PETIT FOURS   $18

ASSORTMENT OF DRESSED SEASONAL FRUIT AND SORBET  $9

CHEF'S SELECTION OF HOUSEMADE GELATO   $9

SHARING CHEESE PRESENTATION   $18
(Please pick two selections from the dessert menu) 

CHOCOLATE TASTING   $15
Experience different types of chocolate in three states: solid, semi-solid, and liquid 

SUGAR-FREE DESSERT OF THE DAY   $8 

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Posted at 09:04 AM/ET, 05/13/2008 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs