Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lily O'Brien's Chocolate Cafe

So it's been a while since I've posted anything here, but I thought I'd share with you one of my new found faves. Lily O'Brien's Chocolate Cafe is located near Bryant Park and boasts an impressive collection of truffles, gift boxes and drinks.

The cafe itself is a mix of retro styling with purple and turquoise accents. I felt like I walked into a cafe that was trying really hard to be chic and seem rich and decadent, but something felt forced about the place. Maybe it was the brown walls or the swirling decor that made me feel uneasy. Maybe it was the faux crystal chandeliers or the woman painted on door to the ladies' room. But this is a chocolate CAFE after all, and maybe I am expecting too much. I tend to do that when it comes to chocolate. And I also qualify, that I am a bit jaded and believe that chocolate should speak for itself. If a place is overdecorated it makes me think that the chocolate might be lacking something.

After buying a box of truffles, their honeycomb bar and toffee bars, I sat down and ordered a small cup of their signature hot chocolate. The hot chocolate comes in different flavors depending on what kind of chocolate you want used. The chocolate is melted and served at the perfect temperature. I hate hot beverages that burn my mouth, but these, and I say these because I went back and got a second one after the first one, were perfect. The Signature Hot Chocolate, which I recommend, is warm, milky and has very subtle chocolate flavoring. The dark chocolate is a pure shot of unadulterated chocolate, rich and hard to take all at once. This is one hot chocolate that deserves to be sipped and savored.

I will say a bit about their truffles, though I find that the best thing about Lily O'Brien's is the hot chocolate. Overall, I found the chocolate used in their bars and truffles was very thick and heavy. The milk chocolate was very sugary and I found some of the chocolates lacking in flavor. My favorite pieces were the ones done in white chocolate including their Creme Brule truffle. Also I was surprised by the toffee bar which was more like a caramel bar. When I think of toffee I think crunchy. This is not to say that their chocolate is bad, quite the contrary, but if you're going to try one thing at this store make it a hot chocolate.

Lily O'Briens Chocolate Cafe is located at:
36 West 40th Street, Bryant Park, NYC 10018