ChocoLee Comes to Town

1202403306Even as it sat virtually empty last week, the new South End chocolate shop ChocoLee was drawing undisguised lustful glances from passers-by. And no wonder: In the front windows of the Pembroke Street storefront sat two enormous silver bowls, complete with dripping whisks and brimming with what looked like enough chocolate to feed the whole neighborhood.

And though the luscious goo in those bowls is—alas!—just a bit of window-design wizardry, ChocoLee owner Lee Napoli will do her best to satisfy local sweet tooths starting tomorrow, as her shop opens for business.

The timing is spot-on for Napoli, a veteran pastry chef who’s worked in some of Boston’s top kitchens (Icarus, Bricco), who says she’ll have 500-plus handmade truffles, filled chocolates, and other confections stocked going into the weekend before Valentine’s Day. (In our preview tasting, we fell hard for the salted caramel—the dark shell having just the right snap of well-tempered chocolate.) As an opening-week special, she’ll also be turning out her signature chocolate-and-mascarpone-filled beignets.

1202403648Another point in Napoli’s favor is her location, now a bona fide South End sweet spot: The previous tenant was Best of Boston winner Choco Choco House (owner Aliya Wali has reportedly returned to creating sweets for her family’s restaurants, Dali and Cuchi Cuchi). And, with V-Day just around the corner, Napoli couldn’t wish for a better next-door neighbor than floral design boutique Mimosa, its windows already crimson with rose arrangements.

Oh, and if you’re in the Symphony neighborhood today, stop in at the Whole Foods and say hi: Napoli will be on hand to give demonstrations in chocolate-dipping from noon to 2.

Starting on 2/8, ChocoLee will be open 10 a.m.–7 p.m. daily except Monday; 83 Pembroke St., Boston, 617-236-0606,