New York City, NY

New York City's Decadently Creative Chocolate Shop

Michael Loren

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I had heard more than once about the notorious Max Brenner chocolate shop on 14th and Broadway (near Union Square), but I'm not a big chocolate fan, so I had never ventured into the joint. My friend, Erin suggested that it might be a good thing to write about, though, so I decided to give it a go.

Now, before you declare me to be un-American, I don't dislike chocolate. I just tend to be more a salty craving girl; a.k.a., I would generally rather spend my calories on pizza instead of chocolate. Little did I know that I would find the perfect balance at Max Brenner.

When we entered, the restaurant looked a little more like a pared down chocolate factory a la Willy Wonka than Max Brenner (whoever he is). There were huge vats of different kinds of chocolate being stirred with cuisinart-like paddles the size of kindergartners.

There was a store to the right with every kind of packaged chocolate and derivative of chocolate that you could possibly imagine. To the left was a long bar with coffees and pastries that were (obviously) all centered around the store theme. The rest of the restaurant was devoted to booths and cute little curly chairs.

We were there for pick up, but you could tell where couples had once dined on decadent treats spread over two levels under pipes that were (supposedly) pumping chocolate to the front of the restaurant to be mixed.

"They have real food here?" I asked the hostess. She politely offered me a menu and I went to work devouring it with my foodie talons. Try as I might, I couldn't.

The entrees were generally American fare featuring a small but interesting twist, but what was most striking were the prices. Cheap-ety cheap! Like, Applebee's prices with much more palatable entrees. And not everything was chocolate. I vowed to come back when I was hungrier and ventured to the pastry counter.

Chocolate croissants, eclairs, hot chocolate, etc., were all beautifully crafted and displayed behind glass. I strolled along and was stopped in my tracks by the perfect combination. Chocolate pizza. OMG. I looked at the worker with a tear in my eye.

"Really?" I asked. "Would you like marshmallows or heath bar?" he asked. I ordered marsmallows and they proceeded to make me chocolate pizza. From scratch (well, not the crust, but everything else). Ten minutes later, I was eating the richest dessert I had ever had. Was it dessert? I didn't care. It was hot and it was heavenly.

While I'm not a huge chocolate fan, this chocolate pizza made a convert of the person I once was. I was reminded of the advice of a friend when I told him I didn't like caviar.

"Dahling, if you don't like something that most of the rest of the world things is fantastic, then you obviously must not be eating it the right way."

He might have been on to something. I had previously not liked the chocolate I tried from the counters at the grocery store. I hadn't really had any meticulously crafted chocolate because I had told myself that it wasn't for me. Perhaps, like my friend said, I hadn't been eating it the right way. (I still don't like caviar, by the way, so if anybody has any suggestions as to how to eat that, I'm all ears).

So, chocolate and pizza was the perfect pairing and it was the perfect way to warm my heart and my stomach and open up my mind a little bit on a cold winter's day. In short, it was the perfect pairing on the perfect day. Max Brenner, whoever you are, thank you.

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Professional writer and journalist with concentration in data analysis. I specialize in interpreting data to give you unbiased, understandable information related to the state of California.

Los Angeles, CA
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