Coco Noche Chocolate and Wine: A Girlish Delight

— by Caroline on Crack

Marquise au Chocolat

I’m swearing off chocolate forever…OK, maybe not forever but umm maybe only until tomorrow. It’s just after having dinner, cocktails and dessert at Manhattan Beach’s Coco Noche I am all chocolated out. What could possibly have made me come to such a strange and unlikely point? In my enthusiasm to try out this wine and chocolate restaurant, I made the mistake of ordering an espresso chocolate martini ($5 Martini Monday special) followed by the award-winning Marquise au Chocolat ($8), which is chocolate genoise, rich chocolate ganache and baked hazelnuts — in other words, an extra-large chocolate truffle.

My friend Steph turned me on to Coco Noche, selling me on it by pointing out that they actually do wine and chocolate tastings! Wine and chocolate? Sounds like heaven on earth.

Checking out the restaurant’s site, I was instantly intrigued by their weekly events.

  • Martini Mondays, 11:30am-10pm with $5 martinis
  • Triple Tuesdays, 4-7pm with wine, tapas and chocolate for $15
  • We Date Wednesdays, 5-10pm with a prix fixe menu designed for you
  • Pizza Thursdays, 11:30am-10pm with gourmet pizza and premium beer tasting

Despite their list of 90 wines to choose from, Sara and I went to see about their martini specials. On a chilly Monday night, the restaurant itself, located right next to the Kettle, was kinda dead save for the six 50-something women taking up two tables. In the course of the evening, we got to watch them get drunk off their bottles of wine, slowly blinking and slurring during their neverending conversation about “smmmoking.”

Flickr Shot by dotsaraIt made sense that Coco Noche was popular with the ladies. I mean, wine and chocolate. Come on. Plus the menu itself was extra girly. I’m not only talking because of its use of purple fonts and stars but rather such dishes as the light croissant basil chicken sandwich ($9), the English tea platter ($17) and of course the two pages of chocolatey desserts.

I wondered aloud whether this would be a good place for a guy to take a woman he wanted to seduce. The description for the Marquise au Chocolat read that since chocolate is an aphrodisiac, “you might want to warn the other diners before you order this one.” But Sara said, and I agree, that I probably wouldn’t be interested in the kind of guy who went here…and he probably wouldn’t be interested in me, or women for that matter.

Even the beer menu is pretty girly what with its Framboise Lambic ($12) which has a “magnificent aroma, delicate palate of raspberries with undertones of fruity acidity.” Or the Westmalle Trappist Dubbel Ale ($10) and its “deeply malty, dry finish hinting at tropical fruit.”

The O’Keefian orchids at every table, the chocolate display case and bottles of pink champagne on the shelves further confirmed our theory. But it’s not like that’s a bad thing. I’d suggest taking the girls here for some after-work drinks or to try out the Ultimate 7 Grand Cru Chocolate and Wine Pairing ($20) which presents seven “Grand Cru” chocolates ranging from light to dark paired with port, merlot and zin.

If you show up on an empty stomach, you can order their one sandwich or some of their tapas before heading the Hershey way. Sara and I tried that croissant sandwich and loved it. It was light and tasty, and it almost felt like it wasn’t enough. But instead of ordering a second sandwich that’s when I made the fatal error of getting that huge hunk of rich chocolatey goodness. Don’t misunderstand, the first bite was heaven. The chocolate cake melted as soon as it hit my tongue sending me on a split-second pleasure trip. But after the fifth or sixth bite I was done, and yet I had to power through. I wouldn’t even consider binning this treasure.

But I should have listened to my stomach. Before I knew it, I couldn’t even stand the smell of chocolate on my fingers. On the ride home, I clutched my belly and braced myself during every road imperfection transmitted through the car. Ugh, not feeling so good right now. But, was it worth it?

Yes, yes, it was.

1140 Highland Avenue
Manhattan Beach, California 90266
(310) 545-4925