When a restaurant has “Chocolate Bar” in its name people assume that the place is just a sweet shop or a candy store.
2145 Fern Street, South Park
In the case of Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro in South Park, that’s an unfair assumption.
The menu features plenty of sweet dishes — pancakes, cinnamon rolls, 11 different variations of hot chocolate — but also a lot of savory items that are worth, well, savoring. And a lot of these items also use chocolate or cocoa in some capacity.
I started brunch with the Barley Spirit Bloody Mary ($10) which mixes cocoa-infused booze with a very juicy, almost fruity (in a good way) tomato juice mix. It was fruity and full-flavored — like I had bitten into a fresh tomato. The bleu cheese-stuffed olive garnish was appreciated.
My wife, the designated driver, ordered some Drinking Chocolate infused with orange peel vanilla ($5.50) with a shot of espresso added (50 cents extra). It was rich. Very rich. And smooth. Very smooth. It was definitely a step above hot chocolates I’ve had before.
For breakfast, I ordered the avocado Benedict ($12) served on thick toast with a chile burnt caramel hollandaise, and a side order of sea salted potatoes ($9), which were also served with the hollandaise, and some maple muscovado-glazed bacon.
Yes, the hollandaise had caramel in it, but it wasn’t a sugar bomb. I was impressed with how balanced the dish was. I would have liked my toast a bit crisper, but that’s hard to do with toast as thick as this was.
The potatoes were okay at first bite, but took off into the stratosphere when I added some of the sea salt provided on the side. It truly was a missing link, seemingly adding other components like crispiness to the dish. I know that isn’t possible. I’m just trying to explain how the addition of the salt made the dish pop.
My wife split the potatoes with me, and also ordered the parmesan and tomato quiche ($12). It, too, had the caramel hollandaise, but, again, the dish was balanced to emphasize the blend of eggs, tomato and Parmesan.
In baseball, a good trade is one that helps both teams. When dining, it’s good when both people are happy with their dish. My wife and I both tried each other’s dish and were happy with the one we had ordered.
Although there are lots of dessert and sweet options available (like blueberry lemon French toast), we instead chose to get a box of housemade truffles on the way out. We ate them at home and had a great time with our kids cutting them up and sampling the flavors.
Eclipse is not just a place I’d brunch again, but a place where I would definitely take out-of-towners. It hits the sweet spot, even with savory items.