Cocoa V is a welcome sight, a vegan chocolaterie in the stark January tundra of Chelsea. What a wonderful idea, right? Next to the room of chocolate cases is a comfortably chic lounge with a fireplace and wooden boards at each place setting for the chocolates. In the lounge, assorted chocolate plates and a nut cheese offering are ready to woo. Too bad they haven't quite nailed it yet.
The chocolates are mostly a miss. The "Silk" truffle, fashioned with the queen of soy milk, is on the chalky side, with not a lot of richness coming through. A cashew buttercream looked the part, but somehow lost its cashew voice. The Stumptown Caramel was the splendid exception of the lot. Encased inside the dark brick was a straight coffee sludge that seeped through my fingers onto the desk back at the hotel. Yes, I licked each finger like it was the only source of caffeine left on the planet.
I was expecting a little more from the nut cheese plate, for $16. It was a basic board of cheese and wheat crackers, with some apple slices, strawberry, vegan "honey" (brown rice syrup and agave), and the unlikely visitor, a scoop of hummus. The nut cheese assortment was from Dr. Cow, an aged cashew cheese that was creamy with a light flavor, the algae cashew cheese that was delightful and reminded me of a less aggressive blue cheese, and an aged cashew and dulse (seaweed) that was nice and smoky. While the cheese was engaging enough for a few bites, the accompaniments need an upgrade.
I wouldn't go out of my way to visit Cocoa V because there are many other vegan chocolate options in New York, but I'm glad they're trying. I wouldn't say no to another Stumptown Caramel.
Cocoa V, 174 9th Avenue