Sweet Science

The Recchiutis' new cafe makes willing lab rats of us all
Chocolate Lab Slide Show
The ham and cheese tartine (Credit: Tom Seawell Photography)

Despite Chocolate Lab’s name, it’s possible to avoid chocolate altogether.

In fact, there are quite a few distractions to tempt you away from the main course at Michael and Jacky Recchiuti’s new Dogpatch cafe. By “main,” of course, we’re referring to pastries, like the bi-level chocolate mousse cake ($10), mandarin orange haunting its flavor.

Michael worked as a pastry chef for decades before launching his eponymous chocolate company in 1997, and he says he’s having fun playing with sweet and savory pastries again.

Inspired by Poîlane’s Cuisine de Bar in Paris, Chocolate Lab serves tartines, open-faced sandwiches served on toasted slices of wholegrain or sourdough bread from Firebrand Artisan Breads, in addition to the sweets. The toppings can be as classic as thin slices of country ham and melted triple-crème cheese ($12) or as unexpected as a wonderful vegetable frittata ($10) topped with minted salsa verde.

If you decide, after your savory appetizer and thick slice of cake, to bring a cookie plate ($5) back to the office with you, you can always consider it your real dessert.

Chocolate Lab, 801 22nd St. (at Tennessee St.); 415-489-2881 or chocolatelabsf.com

  • The tourteau fromage, a delicate goat-cheese soufflé, straddles the boundary between savory and sweet.

  • Michael Recchiuti's country ham and triple-crème cheese tartine with cranberry relish was inspired by the famous Poîlane Bakery in Paris. (Photo: Tom Seawell Photography)

  • The chocolate mousse cake is garnished with citrus gélées and candied almonds.

  • The cookie plate is discreet enough to slip into your bag for a post-meal snack. 

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Chocolate Lab 801 22nd St. San Francisco CA 94107 415-489-2881

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