Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Mocha Café and Pastry

417spotlightIf you’re looking for a getaway café experience, you can leave your passport at home. Mocha Café and Pastry, newly opened in Arlington, has the freshly baked pastries, sandwiches, coffee-house drinks, and atmosphere to recreate that continental experience.

The dining space here is chic and inviting. Tall-backed arm chairs in assorted colorful upholstery are coupled with small café tables. Paintings and prints of artfully arranged baked goods line the walls. On one wall, neon-toned pieces of art – one featuring a cupcake, another an éclair, and a third depicting a few stacked macaroons – surround the saying “life is short; eat dessert first.” After looking at the pastry displays here, following this motto would be forgivable.

Prepare for temptation: Enter the café and the first thing you’ll encounter is a display case featuring chocolate tarts with thick layers of decadent chocolate in a crumbling cocoa pastry shell. Step around the counter and you’ll find cupcakes topped with tall peaks of sweet frosting and assorted pastries on stands. Another display reveals macaroons in flavors such as strawberry and pistachio; the basic vanilla variety of the airy, firm-shelled cake collapses into a chewy, sweet treat with a bite. Here you’ll find classic French pasties such as croissants and cream puffs, but this café also specializes in Persian desserts made from family recipes, and offers other international sweets.

The coffee menu here goes far beyond the basic drip. You could order a strong Turkish coffee in a tiny, ornate cup. You could also order a pour-over coffee, and watch as boiling water is poured from a silver kettle through a filter cone of ground coffee right at the counter. You can also order espresso and specialty espresso drinks, or select from a wide assortment of teas and freshly squeezed juices.

Breakfast items are listed separately on the menu behind the counter, but most are available even during non-breakfast hours so that throughout the day one can enjoy a small egg-filled and buttery quiche, available with and without meat. On a recent evening visit, the popular croissants, made fresh every day, had already sold out.

About a dozen sandwiches and wraps are served here as well. The Pesto Turkey ($7.75) has proven popular. The bread is a highlight of the sandwich, a warm and chewy roll with a firm, glistening crust. It’s coated with a rustic pesto and topped with chunks of turkey and slices of cucumber, red onion, and tomato. Among the list of familiar deli fare, the Persian Chicken Salad ($6.25) stands out. This sandwich offers a twist on the standard chicken salad. Here, chilled shredded chicken is mixed with strands of carrots and chopped bits of nuts in a salad with a tangy taste and a unique texture. For the sandwiches, chips are served as a side.

With unique Persian delicacies and tasty fresh-baked pastries served up in a spot that’s not wanting for charm, Mocha Café and Pastry offers international appeal locally.

Mocha Café and Pastry is located at 2720 Washington Blvd., Arlington. For more information, call 703-582-2268 or visit Restaurant hours are Monday – Friday: 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturday: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.; and Sunday: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.