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roger desmond

Cocoa

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You asked for thoughts a while ago now, hope you still care, and that this is helpful.

Oh, Cocoa is a new Restaurant in West Hartford on Farmington Avenue. The space had previously been Puerto Vallarta.

I've eaten there twice now. Once was very soon after they opened, and again just a few weeks ago.

On the first visit: The service was so horrendously bad that I came very close to swearing it off as a "banned" choice. My wife (we both have worked in the industry at one time or another in our lives) convinced me to consider the fact that we had seen but one server, and that is no way to judge a restaurant. More importantly, the food was very good.

Ahi Tuna Tartare: More creative than delicious, but overall not a bad dish. Finding the right balance of the rice and "sweet sauce" to go with the fish wasn't straightforward, but some experimenting with an unusual presentation made it fun.

Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella Ravioli: Do it. Lovely and expressive. The tomato/garlic butter sits perfectly with the flavors coming from the cheese, and helps it linger just long enough to take a sip of your wine, smile, and take another bite. Yum.

I did no salad course, my wife did, she seemed to enjoy, sorry, I don't recall which she had.

Vanilla Bean Duck Breast: I judge restaurants by their duck (perhaps not fair to some restaurants if this is not where the chef(s) shine). Nearly every new restaurant I go to, if there is a duck entree, I order it. Easy to get OK, hard to hit a home run....I'm rarely angry about a duck dish, (though it has happened, sigh...), and occasionally I get wowed, and I love it. This dish came close...especially for CT. The apples and cranberry flavors played spiritedly against the succulent duck. Well cooked, well presented, and enjoyable. The yukon potato cake was hearty enough to survive with this bold dish, and made short work of any extra liquid on the plate.

On the second visit, I do not recall appetizers, but did repeat the duck...and it was just as good. Well, maybe just a hair shy of as good...I think the duck itself might have been less flavorful, as the prep, cooking, and everything else seemed identical. The service was MUCH MUCH MUCH better. The first service person was no where to be seen (perhaps no longer in their employ?), and our needs were met efficiently and professionally. Not blown away, but quite happy with the service.

We will add Cocoa to our (admittedly rather small) rotation of restaurants in the area.


Edited by Smokelaw1 (log)

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