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Restaurant Review: CMA’s Revamped Schokko

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Restaurant Review: CMA’s Revamped SchokkoPhotos by Lauren Sega.
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The Columbus Museum of Art’s Schokko Cafe temporarily closed its doors in January. When it closed those doors, it ended an era of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants as management of the eatery. While there’s still a solid catering relationship, CMA has moved in a new independent direction for the eatery.

It’s a good direction. The new Schokko made its debut in March. Some things haven’t changed. The view, the experience of being swallowed up in mammoth artworks; that remains. Instead of the menu that formerly hung over the grill, a new cardstock menu features a manageable list of cafe options.

Restaurants generally have lots of burgers on menus right now. Burgers are simultaneously a cultural requirement and a saturated market. It’s hard to do anything new and novel. So while the Schokko Burger ($12) is not venturing into new territory, it’s proud and tall and beautiful with a couple of notable details. First, there’s house-made dill pickles. Absent cloying sweetness, they offer both crunch and a delightfully tart dill grab. The burger’s Schokko sauce, a relish mayo, is also a nice touch. The duo support a fairly classic mix of beef, tomato, cheddar, greens and red onion.

Over in the salad section, Kale Caesar ($11) is a Caesar salad amped up with the addition of some shockingly velvety kale. It works nicely with the traditional crouton-dressing-parmesan elements.

Snackers can hit something like the Bread & Butter ($5). It’s not just bread, but warm mini-rolls; tender, soft and waiting for the accompanying butter and strawberry jelly. While the menu mentions something about thyme in the jelly, the herb is not really detectable. It wasn’t missed.

*Schokko’s Bread & Butter dish has been swapped out for a Bread & Jam dish*

There’s a chocolate connection at Schokko. The name, “Schokko,” is a reference to Schokko with Wide Brimmed Hat by Alexej von Jawlensky. “Schokko” is the nickname the artist gave to the model, who herself had a particular affinity for hot chocolate. Hot Chocolate is indeed on the menu, year-round. But so also are some other chocolatey treats.

The chocolate scene features Brownies ($4) that don’t look particularly special (other than being large). Try them anyway; they have, bar none, the highest chip-to-brownie ratio in the city. Brownies without chocolate chips are disappointments, and this one has enough chips to make up for several bad ones found elsewhere. The brownies are served with more of that strawberry jelly. It’s a cute angle, but the chips already made it a home-run.

For those who like their art with a little wine, Schokko has that covered too. A selection of sparkling, white, rose and red are printed on a separate card stock menu, with prices by the glass or bottle for more ambitious types.

Anyone can eat at Schokko, you don’t have pay museum admission to enter the dining room. The Museum of Art in which it’s housed is at 480 E. Broad Street.

For more information, visit columbusmuseum.org/visiting/dining.

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