The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen is now open on the west coast, at Universal Studios Hollywood CityWalk.
The huge, two story cylindrical building that once housed the Hard Rock Cafe now is steampunk-themed, boasting a giant clockwork marquee, many huge rotating gears, and towering 97-foot smokestacks. Inside guests now will find the large restaurant, with a gift shop and well stocked candy/macaron counter.
The Toothsome restaurant menu comes in a huge leather-bound book, and opens to the story of Professor Doctor Penelope Tibeaux-Tinker Toothsome and her robot sidekick, Jacques, who is fueled by chocolate. The short, fever dream of a backstory leaves a lot of questions up in the air, but the staff was happy to fill in even more. Penelope is the fictional founder of the restaurant, and she created the chocolate emporium as a means of reconnecting with her parents, who have become lost in their travels through time. She is sure that, due to their mutual love of chocolate, the creation of such a huge emporium will serve as a beacon and ultimately reunite them.
They almost lost me there, but reeled me back in with the very decadent milkshakes. There is a huge milkshake bar, with about 13 different milkshake concoctions to choose from. I opted for a red velvet, which was very pretty and came topped with an entire cupcake. It's a fabulous photo op, and pretty good-tasting shake (and cupcake).
Food options are plentiful [including chocolate almond bread with salted caramel butter, coffee and chocolate stout wings, braised short rib with cheddar grits and a cocoa gremolata, half-pound burgers, flatbreads, pastas, salads... and brunch all day], and the menu includes large, high-quality photos of each dish, which felt very helpful. The savory food was good but definitely not the highlight. An array of sweet cocktails and desserts steal the show; after all this is a chocolate emporium. The chocolate crème brûlée was delicious, and the drinks were extremely strong and sweet (approach with caution).
Penelope and Jack wander from table to table interacting with guests and improv-ing little songs, which creates a chaotic environment that pairs nicely with the inevitable sugar rush and/or alcohol buzz. The entire restaurant is an interesting blend of childlike flavors and brown, industrial decor, tied together by an insane backstory that entertains despite its disjointed tone.
Lean into the chaos of it all, and it’s sure to be fun for the whole family.
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen is located on Universal CityWalk. Theme park admission is not required, but CityWalk parking is [$30 before 5pm, $10 after 5pm. Parking is just $5 with the purchase of a movie ticket, with the difference refunded at the box office], unless you use a rideshare or public transportation. CityWalk opens at 11am and closes at 8pm or 10pm, depending upon the date. Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen reservations are available online.
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