EPICURE: Off the Line at Naked Chocolate Cafe in Philadelphia

Sweet and Sour

Sweet and Sour

Naked Chocolate Café’s name conjures visions of a dessert nightclub more than a confectioner’s shop—one with a dramatic, richly colored interior. But instead of sexy curves, we found lots of sharp edges at this new Center City chocolate boutique. Some involved the staff who, frankly, seemed less than thrilled to have to answer our questions.

The selection of hot, sipping and frozen drinking chocolates seemed a little on the heavy side, so we opted for the Mayan chocolate truffle tea—satisfying, with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. A fully loaded carrot cupcake was memorable, an edible hint of fall. Less notable was a black forest cupcake; it had a satisfying chocolate flavor, but was too cold and a bit dry. A polka-dotted cup of chocolate pot de crème was cute, but far too dense and miserly in its cocoa overtones. Soft, toothsome pecans and cashews lent character to the turtles.

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The multi-layered Pyramid’s dark chocolate ganache center contrasted nicely with its brittle coating. A piece of chocolate-dipped ginger tasted sour, its rubbery consistency offputting, and the port chocolate-dipped figs might’ve been nice had they held any hint of port. But the Italiano espresso—a smoother, more complex version of a chocolate-covered espresso bean—was a hit.

Overall, everything here could’ve been served a bit warmer—and that includes the atmosphere and décor. Stark lights, bright hardwood floors and clear glass partitions evoke a sterile tone, negating the charm of the gorgeous tin ceiling and Old World bank vault. 1317 Walnut St., Philadelphia, nakedchocolatecafe.com, (215) 735-7310.

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