Reservations at the most romantic restaurants in the city fill up quickly in the weeks before Valentine’s day, but it’s important to remember that this holiday – thankfully placed in the middle of the coldest months, when we all need a little celebration – can really be celebrated with loved ones of all sorts. At The Chocolate Room in Brooklyn they know this well, and it’s equally possible to share the joy of a spicy hot cocoa with your sweetheart as it is a banana split with your 3-year-old niece or a chocolate stout with your best friend. In fact, you can do so any time of year and be greeted with the same recipe of warmth and decadence – although they’re particularly busy these first weeks of February.
Walking inside, guests often remark on the smell of chocolate coming from open kitchen – the first invitation to stay awhile and try as much as possible. This is matched with an equally chocolatey color scheme of dark brown and red. After the smell, the first thing most guests notice is the chocolate case – brightly lit and well stocked with confections. In the weeks before Valentine’s day, there is a staff member available just to help guests assemble custom chocolate boxes from their favorite truffles inside.
The retail side of operations might be front and center, but The Chocolate Room also wants to keep you out of the cold; they take no reservations but provide table service during both the day and evening. Each shop has bar seating where you can watch desserts being assembled, as well as small tables that are sometimes pushed together for children’s birthday parties, and other times pulled apart and candle-lit for intimate evenings. There are no savory items on the menu, but there is something for every sweet tooth – from overflowing brownie sundaes to elegant flourless chocolate cake. Each menu item also has a suggested wine or beer pairing on the menu, like dark chocolate stout from Brooklyn Brewery or a Graham’s tawny port.
The wine pairings and low evening lighting make one thing clear: this is a romantic spot, the perfect place to take your date post-dinner when you’re not ready for the night to end, but you don’t feel like heading to a noisy bar. But just like its namesake, The Chocolate Room strives to be universal, and very kid-friendly. There is no hard alcohol served, but there are plenty of child favorites and kid-sized scoops of homemade ice cream. Appealing to both families and couples is no easy task – but it does explain how The Chocolate Room keeps the hot cocoa flowing at all hours during these cold winter months.