I'm not a purist when it comes to chocolate. Of course, I want it to taste good, but I don't discriminate between Recchiuti and a Tootsie Roll. Both satisfy my sweet tooth in unique ways.
However, I'll admit there's something to be said for quality ingredients. That's why when my friend Lauren suggested we meet at Pure Dark on our way to dinner the other night, I was in for two reasons. 1. Lauren is my expert source on everything from haircuts to hot new restaurants. This place must be good. 2. I subscribe to the old adage, "Life is short. Eat dessert first." 3. Dark chocolate is my favorite variety, and why not. It's good for you.
When I first walked in, I had to steady myself. Not my Louboutins, but rather the delectable aroma of cocoa made me weak in the knees. When I regained my composure, I looked around. The place is warm, welcoming and very well laid-out with different stations -- one for slabs of chocolate of different varieties that you can have cut to order by the ounce, another where you can mix up ingredients and they'll make your own signature bark, and so on. Toward the back there's something akin to a Chocolate Discovery Museum, which traces chocolate from bean to bar.
As I said before, I'm no purist, but you know a place is serious about chocolate when they talk about nibs. Pure Dark offers three types: roasted, chocolate covered, and caramelized. Try them on their own, then see how well they blend with the different varieties of dark chocolate slabs. Since I tend to be a "take a bitter with the sweet in life" person, I favored the darkest chocolate with the roasted nibs.
There are also rounds all around -- disks of delectability in unique flavors such as cardamom allspice (my personal favorite), raspberry acai, and chipotle cinnamon.
Back at the "make your own bark" station, I concocted one that included nibs, cashews, dried cherries almonds and raisins. It was gone before I even boarded my flight back to San Francisco.
That's alright, though, because Pure Dark's signature products are available on their web site, which is an unadulterated beauty. You definitely can't say that about a Tootsie Roll.
350 Bleecker Street | New York, NY 10014 | 917-284-1987
UPDATE December 2010 - Pure Dark is now open in San Francisco! 1775 Union Street