Cool your chakras
24K Chocolat Cafe
24K Chocolat Cafe & Theater2331 K St.
Sacramento, CA 95816
24K Chocolat Cafe is nestled deep within a building that was constructed in the late 1920s as a Mormon temple but has since seriously strayed from that original purpose. The labyrinthine Spanish-colonial-style structure now houses a complex of businesses united under the rubric “Ancient Future Urban Sanctuary,” which includes meditation classes, a gift shop heavy on the crystals, clowning workshops, an equine therapist, and, yes, a cafe that serves brunch.
When visitors arrive, they’re likely to be warmly greeted and offered a tour—probably by a woman wearing some type of dark-velvet clothing. The rooms smell of sweet spice, and terms such as “cellular memory” and “sound therapy” resound in the air. It really is a little urban sanctuary with a sunny central courtyard where diners can eat al fresco near a burbling fountain.
If this sounds like a nightmare to you, what are you doing living in Northern California? All kidding aside—don’t get your chakras in an uproar—24K offers an eclectic and eccentric dining experience that might not be for everyone.
Ignoring all the New Age trappings, the cafe serves a solid, if very limited, brunch and lunch menu. The savory options are unusual and the portions restrained. There is no standard two-egg breakfast here, and this isn’t a spot to combat a hangover by loading up on carbs and grease.
On the contrary, the combination of the blissed-out servers, flickering candles and tinkling of a live piano will leave diners sated and relaxed, ready for some vinyasa yoga rather than a nap on the couch.
The server, who gently asks if either table “speaks to” me, brings me a complimentary glass of the water of the day: Valencia orange and basil. The menu states that it’s been alkalized and purified for my drinking pleasure. I can’t detect the difference, but it’s refreshing and frequently refilled.
One of the offerings is a firm wedge of frittata with a strong tang of sharp cheddar that almost but doesn’t quite jibe with the slightly spicy mole sauce on the plate. The breakfast salad on the side is lightly coated with a sesame-oil vinaigrette and topped with crispy shiitake mushroom bits that give the crunch and salt of bacon without the pork.
The spinach curry, made creamy by coconut milk rather than dairy, comes topped with cubes of tofu and tiny diced scallion and red bell pepper, and rests atop a smooth potato cake. A side of garbanzo-bean salad is well-flavored with the surprising combination of mint and apricot.
A corn-and-black-bean salad tastes overly oniony and not very exciting, despite the tangy tomatillo-salsa dollop; it smacks of a typical food co-op deli salad. The polenta cake that accompanies it is too salty. The ham and Gruyere crepe is luscious but small for 10 bucks, and the promised rosemary was not in effect.
The place has “chocolat” in the name, and chocolate is everywhere: for sale, along with tea and coffee in the small boutique area, and in the form of truffles plated on a side table. It’s also in many of the menu offerings. A tiny cup of hot Mexican drinking chocolate is a bracing, thick, grainy, spicy brew. Two small chocolate-cherry scones are served crisp and hot, studded with big chunks of bittersweet chocolate and tart dried cherries. The lavender crème fraîche on the side is a tart way to cut the sugar of the dish.
There are many other intriguing sweet options, including, surprisingly, a bacon-chocolate pudding and cheddar-bacon muffins. Apparently, the power of the pig is so strong, that it transcends even the gentle vibes in which 24K is bathed.