Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mindy's Hot Chocolate - Brunch

I have been to Mindy's Hot Chocolate several times, and have really liked what I had, but I have neither been since Mindy Segal won her James Beard Award for Best Pastry Chef, nor have I ever been for brunch, so I thought it was a good choice for my monthly brunch trip.  Very shortly after Mindy Segal won her James Beard Award, she closed the restaurant for a few weeks to do some redesign work.  Walking in, I tried to notice what had changed.  The first things that I noticed were that the sign had changed.  It is now a rusted steel sign with the long, thin letters that were ground through the sign invoking the look of dripping chocolate.  The front of the restaurant was a glass window wall that was framed to fold in several sections and open to the street.  Inside, the layout has remained the same with the bar to the right and the kitchen in the back so it wasn't a radical redesign.  The colors have changed, the room used to be brown on brown but is know an off-white with a brown trim.  Some of the seating has been changed as well.  There was some low lounge seating near the front of the restaurant where there is now a communal table that would seat 10.  The brunch menu frequently changes based on what is seasonal.  The standard omelettes, skillets, French Toast, and skillets are there, but what is used in them changes based on what is in season.  There is also coffee, juice, cocktails, and the Hot Chocolate for which the restaurant is named.  There were seven hot chocolates on the list ranging from light to dark.  I went with a mixture called Half & Half which was actually kind of like a Caffè Mocha.  It was half Espresso and half Dark Hot Chocolate and it was very good.  It was hot (of course) and pretty bitter from the Espresso and the 72% French Chocolate but it was also pretty rich and had a sweet finish.  There was also a Housemade Marshmallow that was served with it that was a world better than any marshmallow you will find in a grocery store.  While I generally split my brunch between sweet and savory, I figured that the hot chocolate, which everyone ordered was sufficient to fulfill the sweet side.  Mindy Segal creates some amazing sweets but there is also some very good savory food here, so we had to plan for that.

For my savory side, I went with some thing that seemed to have a vaguely Asian twist to it.  I had the Brunch Fried Rice which came with Hanger Steak, Broccolini, Green Eyes, Pea Shoots, English Peas, Carrots, a Fried Egg, and, of course, the Rice.  I tried it and it had a very fresh and green flavor.  It wasn't bad as it was, but it was much better after having added some Sriracha.  I really liked brunch here, but I think the dinner (and dessert) is better here.  I was going to grab a bag of cookies to go as well but I forgot.  It just means that I will have to return, but this is not a problem.

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