How to Become a Shokoholic
“Become a Shokoholic,” invites Shokolaat Restaurant in downtown Palo Alto. For me, that was the easiest thing to do. From clean and sophisticated ambience to house-made chocolates that include morsels with cardamom and saffron or cherry marmalade and 24-karat gold—everything here is welcoming and potentially addictive.
I was not surprised to learn that chocolate assortments created here are being shipped all over the U.S. and to regular customers in Europe and Israel – chocoholics of the world, unite!
Started in 2007 as a chocolaterie by wife-and-husband team Shekoh Moossavi and Mark Ainsworth, the venue soon became a popular dining spot on University Avenue, and expanded its operation first to small plates then to full-size dinners fortified with an extensive wine list.
These days, the restaurant adds an enticing happy-hour menu to its regular fare.
Shokolaat creates its seasonal dinner menu based on local and sustainable ingredients, using plenty of house preparations.
Wonderfully fresh and fish-oily house-cured salmon is served over a pumpernickel toast smeared with dill cream cheese and spiked with pickled red onion.
Earthy wild mushroom soup (on the night we dined – hen of the woods) is made after Shekoh’s mother’s recipe with fragrant mint oil.
There are several salads, pasta dishes and fish plates on the menu, as well as a good selection of meats from veal and duck to grass-fed beef and lamb.
The latter sounded especially enticing, so both my husband and I ended up ordering lamb dishes.
My shepherd’s pie was stuffed with braised lamb shank, root vegetables, and caramelized onions under a blanket of turmeric-induced potato puree. Roasted tomatoes added an unexpected and pleasant nuance to the otherwise traditionally mild-tasting dish.
Perfectly medium-rare rack of lamb with mashed potatoes, green beans and bright-yellow rutabaga puree came in a pool of finger-licking house signature sauce.
Moving to Shokolaat desserts we indulged in classic crème brulee and bittersweet chocolate and dark rum soufflé with hot chocolate sauce – both predictably excellent.
Shokolaat Restaurant is located at 516 University Avenue in Palo Alto, California.
Open for dinner Tuesday – Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and for lunch Tuesday – Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Patisserie is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. For reservations, call (650) 289-0719 or visit their website.
Editor’s note: This venue is now closed.