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Personally, we consider all chocolate to be works of art. But Shaineal Shah takes this idea to a new level at Xocolatti, his just-opened SoHo chocolateria where each confection is treated as an opportunity for experimentation (think Japanese-inspired sake truffles and Indian saffron-nut chikki bark).

Shah, who is all of 23, first gained notoriety selling online and around town at places like the Chocolate Library. But as devout fans, we're thrilled to have a central location for our luxury chocolate fix.

The space is small, hypermodern and feels more like a designer spaceship than a candy shop. But don't let the decor fool you; the sweets are the stars here.

Begin with the chocolate slates ($3 per ounce), bark-like slabs of chocolate coated with exotic toppings in surprising combinations. We love the "rose-hip pistachio" and "masala milk," but our favorite is the spicy-sweet "mango paprika." Next, sample the hand-painted truffles ($29 for 9 pieces), which range from "brut champagne" (dark and bitter) to "purple passion fruit" (sweet and citrusy).

Got room for more? Finish up with a scoop of hazelnut gelato ($5), which is simple by comparison, though no less delicious.

Xocolatti, 172 Prince St. (between Sullivan and Thompson sts.); 212-256-0331 or

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