In 1892, Naseeb Slik opened his chocolate company in Damascus. Lifetimes later, at the end of 2014, the Syrian Slik Chocolate brand made its U.S. debut at 5868 Westheimer Road. The goal is to eventually expand across the States, but Houston is the lucky test market. As far as we can figure, the Bayou City is home to the only Syrian chocolatier in the United States. And at a time when we hearing about the Mediterranean country mostly means another atrocity, isn't it nice to get some delicious news from Syria?
What's the difference between a Euro or American chocolate shop and a Syrian one? Mostly fillings. Pistachio paste, almond-stuffed dates and Turkish delight are among the centers of dipped chocolates at Slik. The case is also filled with nougat, sesame rolls and other Middle Eastern sweets.
But while grabbing a box of chocolates is a perfectly good reason to stop by Slik, it's not the best one. The café is almost heavy-handed in its multi-chandelier elegance, with comfy leather couches made for settling down with a hot chocolate. There are cold sweets too, including ice cream and Syrian-style puddings.
The hot treats, though, are the way to go. There are waffles covered in honey, fruit or chocolate, including the portable "stick waffle," which is exactly what it sounds like. But I can't say no to a crêpe. Moreover, I really can't say no to a new take on the French pancake. Or pasta, for that matter. And Slik's fettuccine crêpe combines the two.
As soon as the hot batter had solidified on the griddle, the lady at the counter cut it into ribbons, which she slathered with both milk and white chocolates. The result was not unlike a dessert version of fettuccine Alfredo: Luxuriant fun to twirl onto my fork and unravel in my mouth, but chokingly heavy to swallow. Call me a glutton, but I didn't mind having my throat coated with cacao. A small scoop of vanilla ice cream melted with the chocolate and helped to ease its weight going down.
Next time, I might ask to sub in dark chocolate instead of white for a little less sweetness. But there's only one place to get a fettuccine crêpe, and I'll be heading back for that, perhaps with a hot chocolate shot on the side, as soon as I'm again in the market for a sweet bite of pasta.