Sunday, March 3, 2013

Anatomy of a Cupcake at The Sweet Lobby

Green Tea and Boston Cream (r) at The Sweet Lobby

Cupcakes were an admitted afterthought while visiting Eastern Market yesterday. I was a man on a mission: I came for doughnuts (Migue's) and hot dogs (DC-3) but couldn't walk past The Sweet Lobby at 404 8th Street, SE in good conscience. I had visited once before (after their win on Food Channel's Cupcake Wars) and walked away satisfied but hardly impressed. Yesterday's visit was decidedly different.

Sweet Lobby's rather tiny space looks unassuming from the outside, but gorgeous inside. I was warmly greeted the moment I walked in (even though the attendant was still helping someone else... that's good customer service) and waited a minute or so for my turn. Their display of cupcakes and macarons is mouth-watering to say the least. To buy just one, seems a sin. I opted for two (Green Tea and Boston Cream) and only had to hand over less than $7. The aforementioned (super, super nice) attendant offered me a bag for my carry-out box (with handle!) but why would anyone want to cover the best looking cupcake carrier I've ever seen? Success is in the details, and the Sweet Lobby has a firm grasp on that concept.

How I got home without ripping open my container is a testament to my patience and self-control (or perhaps it was that hot dog from DC-3?) Once I did, I was in seventh heaven. Both cakes were really, really good. I wish I could say delicious but they're actually not that sweet (which means I'd likely go back for more.) The Green Tea looked devine with smooth icing and a nice cake (with a very subtle taste of its namesake.) The Boston Cream was the bolder of the pair... again, not very sweet; but bursting with flavor (especially the surprise bite of custard under the chocolate topping.)

The customer service was above and beyond; as were the cupcakes. It's not convenient, but I plan on making several repeat visits (I can't wait to try their macarons!)

Appearance: A
Atmosphere: B+ (They pack a lot of goodness into a small space.)
Cake: B (Not dry, but not very moist either.)
Icing: B+ (Incredibly tasty, without being sweet.)
Value: B+
Overall: A (A++ service, great packaging and really good cupcakes make this cupcakery a must-visit.)