Leesburg / Eclectic / $$$
This restaurant is just as devoted to a smooth experience—and to chocolate—as the candy-making tool that lends the business its name. Chef-owner Santosh Tiptur (who also opened La Prensa in Sterling late last year) happens to be a pastry chef as well as a master of the savory. The two fuse in dishes that include cacao in ways that diners have likely never tasted before.
There are rules against serving fish and cheese, but what about bivalves and chocolate? There should be no prohibitions, based on Tiptur’s Signature Scallops. A trio of the meaty little fellows are crusted in cacao nibs and dressed in a deep, dark mole aioli. They lie sunken in a sea of cocoa-infused black bean purée. Tempura-fried Brussels sprouts punctuate the plate, along with charred grapes. In a final sweet-and-sour touch, the chef drizzles pomegranate reduction across the plate.
It’s a pretty presentation, but the dish bears little resemblance to dessert. So the sweet creations are more than worth saving room for—or a visit on their own.
See this: Chocolatey tones fill the bustling dining room. Check out the pair of open kitchens—one for cooking dinner and another just for assembling the pastries.
Eat this: Crispy calamari, Signature Scallops, Manjari
Service: Informal. This is a restaurant that tends to be busy, and servers don’t have time to settle in and get to know you.
When to dine here: There’s never enough chocolate, even in your burger.