For my birthday, my friends I. and G. came down from New Jersey to spend the weekend with me, and as we were spending the day in DC (invariably visiting Georgetown Cupcake and walking around in a diabetic coma afterwards), we decided to eat dinner at Co Co Sala. I had actually gone here before for dessert and drinks with I., but we'd never done dinner.
We called for a reservation for 3 at around 2pm, since it was a last minute decision, and the only time we were able to get was at 6pm. This was of course on Saturday, but still, be mindful that reservations should be made ahead of time, especially if you want to eat and get drinks at a later time, like 7:30 or 8pm, since that's when Co Co Sala gets crowded.
Because we were pretty full, we ordered mostly small plates, since the focus was on the dessert and drinks, as it should be when you go to a place that is called the Chocolate Room. Below is a brief review of what we ate and drank.
This blue cheese pear and walnut salad ($8) included caramelized walnuts, arugula, cranberries, and balsamic vinaigrette. It was a decent sized portion and very well executed.
This beef tenderloin ($28) with meyer angus and a gruyere and crushed cocoa bean crust was served with a shiraz reduction, asparagus (green and white), and a roasted garlic and goat cheese potato puree. The puree was fascinating. It had a very unique texture and we had actually forgotten what the menu said, and couldn't quite put our finger on what the taste was. It was very light on the cheese factor. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit, and you (loyal readers, at least) know how I feel about cheese (nyet, thanks)
These scallops ($12), were a "bite." This is a concept that Co Co Sala has that is essentially equivalent to the Spanish concept of tapas. Thus, this plate was just two pan-seared, cocoa nib crusted scallops with a maple citrus glaze. The scallops were served with a celery root puree and a lotus chip. It was very good.
This wild mushroom and roasted tomato risotto ($12) with seasonal mushrooms and parmesan risotto was cooked in a tomato broth and served with basil foam, and thus was completely vegetarian. Good, although a bit on the salty side.
This dessert was to split among two people: churros with chocolate pudding dipping sauce. The churros were light, airy and had the perfect amount of cinnamon sugar. They also tasted amazing when dipped into the chocolate pudding sauce. A perfectly executed dessert.
Of course, you can't go to Co Co Sala and not order a drink. It doesn't matter if it's alcoholic or not. You simply must order a drink. We ended up trying four of their cocktails and one non-alcoholic drinks.
All cocktails are $13. We ordered a Fetish, which has fresh strawberries juice/pulp, chocolate-infused vodka, and strawberry foam, and is served with a chocolate dipped berry (pictured behind the churros). It tastes like candy. It was my favorite drink of the night, and possibly my favorite drink ever (though chocolate martinis made at Quad at Princeton rank pretty highly) because you can barely taste the alcohol. The drink itself also tasted very much like a chocolate dipped strawberry, and who doesn't like chocolate dipped strawberries?
We also tried the Co Cojito, with chocolate infused vodka, fresh mint & limes, and dark chocolate flakes (picture above, on the left). It was good, but you could definitely taste the alcohol. I'm not sure the mint and lime flavor was very prominent. The chocolate flavor seemed to overwhelm them both.
The “Mmm” Malted Milk Martini (pictured above on right) featured Svedka Vanilla, Bailey’s, and Malted Chocolate and was very good. Of course, my definition of a very good cocktail is one that is sweet and doesn't taste like alcohol. I know, I'm a girl. But it was complex, creamy, and yet light and easy to drink.
Lastly, we ordered the Blue Bliss (not pictured) which has Stoli Blueberry, Basil Infused Syrup, Fresh Lemonade, and Fresh Basil. It is a refreshing summer cocktail, but it does taste like, well, alcohol. A nice, light palate cleanser at the end of a meal though.
We also ordered the hot Salted Caramel Co Co ($6) at the start of our meal. This delicious drink (pictured above, center) is served with a house-made marshmallow which meals deliciously into the hot cocoa. The drink is the perfect combination of chocolate, caramel, and salt. The caramel flavor is prominent, but balanced by the salt and roundness of the chocolate. I could order this again and again. Actually, I did order this previously, and I. and I had discussed coming back just to drink it again. Turns out we did just that.
The entire experience of eating at Co Co. Sala is very relaxing. It is not actually a restaurant, so if you eat a meal, it is more of a lounge experience, but you can eat and order at the bar or get a table among the booths/couches. It is a perfect place for a classy date or for a dinner among friends, and is conveniently close to the Spy Museum and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. With its consistency, delicious drinks, and well executed and creative dishes, I am sure that Co Co. Sala will remain on my short list of restaurants in D.C. that I love to frequent.
Co Co. Sala
Washington, D.C. 20004
Overall rating for the price: 9 out of 10