My kids are are not big fans of the parental date night because they know they are likely going to miss out on a good meal. Most of the time, their complaints are easy to ignore because kid-free time is a must sometimes. But when we added The Conche to our list of restaurants to try, we knew we needed to make it a family affair. How could we deny our kids a culinary experience with a chocolate theme??
Walking into The Conche is like walking into a confectionary wonderland, with hip music and modern furnishings complimented by dark, rustic woods. You are greeted by a display case filled with house made artisan chocolates with seemingly endless flavors and intricate designs and an operating conche, a machine that essentially mixes chocolate and helps create the creamy texture. We could have stood there all day watching the mesmerizing process while the kids drooled all over the chocolate display, but the dining experience was calling.
The Conche opened in the spring of 2017 and ‘celebrity chef’ Santosh Tiptur is at the helm. Chef Tiptur, a Loudouner himself, is well known for his time at the DC-based Co.Co Sala and has appeared a number of times in culinary competitions on The Food Network. To say Chef Tiptur knows his way around the kitchen is an extreme understatement. Everything from the appetizers to the desserts was absolutely amazing.
The kids started out with frozen cocoa, because frozen cocoa. I can personally attest to the deliciousness that is the Moussetache, a vodka, bailey’s chocolate mousse drink, complete with a chocolate mustache on a stick, which made for fun selfies of course. We all enjoyed our drinks over a few apps. You know that dish you dream of long after your meal is over? Yea, that’s the Sweet & Sour Cauliflower for me. I was not upset it was a tad too spicy for the littles so the adults could have it all to ourselves. They gorged on the most amazing Crispy Calamari so it was a fair trade.
My people are burger people so the Beef Slider Trio was a popular order at our table. I gathered from the silence that blanketed the table when the main course arrived, that the sliders were outstanding. My husband said it was the best burger he has ever had. Ever. Maybe it was the fried cheese fritter on top. Or the shallot jam. Or the chocolate barbeque sauce. Or the ground sirloin stuffed with short braised ribs. My guess is it was a combo of all of these things, coupled with the attention to detail and quality ingredients seen throughout the menu.
The young ones, of course, had the Bacon Mac and Cheese with their sliders. Unfortunately for them, it became a shared dish since we all had to try it. And by try, I mean devour. It was the creamiest, most delicious mac and cheese ever and it was topped with chocolate covered bacon. Enough said. I enjoyed the Seared Scallops and the Tempura Fried Brussel Sprouts. I’ve been dreaming about those as well, and the charred grapes, pomegranate reduction, and cocoa infused black bean puree they were served with. It was at about this stage of the meal my husband and I started planning our return visit, sans kids, for our next date night.
Oh the desserts. While all the desserts sounded like confectionary masterpieces, we knew we had to try The Conche Entrement. The Entrement is a shared dessert of layer after layer of delicious sweets enclosed in a chocolate sphere, set aflame and then drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce. This dessert. Simply incredible. The squeals and moans of delight coming from my children were almost as good as the dessert itself. Almost.
It is no surprise that the Summer Camps offered by the Conche are so popular. My kids loved watching the desserts being made in the bustling glass enclosed pastry kitchen. They were intrigued by the art and process behind the creation of these chocolate masterpieces. The Sweet Escape Summer Confection Camps at The Conche are 3-day camps for kids age 8-16 that covers Chocolate Making, Desserts, and Chocolate Sculptures. Oh and lunch and sweet treats are included. Find out more about these summer camps here.
The food, the vibe, the attentive staff, and that dessert. The entire event was just that; an event, not just a meal out. Whether it is a date night, a fun family outing, or a celebratory occasion, The Conche will not disappoint.
I was provided with a complimentary meal for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.