Are you looking for a special way to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or any event? You can't wrong with the Melting Pot. A fair warning though, dinner here will put a good size dent in your wallet. But it's not necessarily the food you're coming to the Melting Pot for, it's the experience.
Every time I've gone, I have always went for the 4 course classic. The prices has gone up a bit since my last visit. It's now $74 for two people or $37 for one. The four courses consist of a cheese fondue, a salad, entree fondue, than a dessert fondue..
|Fiesta Cheese Fondue|
I have tried a number of the cheese fondues. I particularly like the Fiesta and Wisconsin Trio. The fiesta is cheddar cheese with Mexican herbs, spices, jalapenos and salsa. The Wisconsin is fontina, blue cheese and a white cheese melted in white wine, sherry and scallions. I like the spiciness of the fiesta but I've had rotel cheese dip that taste a lot like it. The Wisconsin is a little more complex; therefore harder to get it right at home. I love the bite from the blue cheese mixed in with the richness of the white cheeses. You can definitely taste the wine in this one. The cheese fondue is served with a variety of bread and fresh vegetables for dipping. I've always been able to ask for more after I run out. My friends and I usually leave nothing behind. Side note: It cost $6 extra if more than two people are eating out of one pot. The same goes for dessert.
I typically just get one particular salad at the Melting Pot. It's the California Salad. There's mixed greens, roma tomatoes, toasted walnuts, Gorgonzola cheese topped with a raspberry walnut vinaigrette. After such a rich appetizer, I find this salad breaks up that velvety coating that lingers. It's not a large portion but a good size to cleanse your palate.
For the entree, I typically share the pacific rim plate which is sesame crusted tuna, shrimp, chicken, lobster, duck and sirloin along with a few wontons. If you really want to count, there's about 6 or so pieces of each of the meats. You also get a variety of vegetables such as mushrooms, broccoli and potatoes to dip in the cooking liquid. If you came here hungry and looking to fill up, it may take a few more servings of the veggies than what they give you to satisfy a big appetite.
As for what to cook your food in, there are four choices. The traditional (court bouillon) way is a vegetable broth. Then there's the European (Bourguignonne) way where you deep fry everything. They provide a tempura-like batter to coat your veggies or any meats you want before the big fry. For $6, you can choose from two other flavors; the Mojo or Coq au Vin. The mojo has a more caribbean flavored broth that has very distinct citrus note. The coq au vin is a burgundy wine sauce. I like the deep fried version because hello I'm from the south. Anything deep fried is delicious. I also like the Mojo, especially with the seafood. It gives each piece a big burst of flavor; although after a little bit everything starts tasting the same.
There's also a variety of dipping sauces to go with your meats. I particularly like the green goddess dip which taste like cream cheese, sour cream and a bunch of herbs. I also like their Gorgonzola/horseradish dip. There's also a teriyaki sauce, a duck sauce and two other sauces.
|Click here for dessert menu|
Once that's cleared away comes the really good part: DESSERT! There's nothing like dipping sugary sweet things in an even sweeter chocolate sauce. There's a number of different fondues to choose from and each is delicious in it's own way. The cookies and cream, marsh mellow dream is among the favorites. It's dark chocolate with marsh mellow cream, flambeed then mix together and garnished with oreos. Another favorite is the flaming turtle; which has milk chocolate caramel and pecans also flambeed table side.
The experience you have at the Melting Pot will largely fall onto the shoulders of your server. Not only do they take care of drinks but they are the ones who starts up your cheese, main course and dessert fondue at your table. So basically, they're your server/chef. I was really lucky the first time I went and had a great server. He was nice, attentive and explained how the process worked without being snooty. The next two times was the same server and she treated us like morons. She was definitely Miss Attitude. It's the luck of the draw whether you have a good or bad experience on that respect.
The atmosphere at Melting Pot is very elegant. But that never stopped my friends and I from acting a fool. Maybe that's why we keep getting looks? Anyways, there are small booths meant for cozy dates and a few larger (3 to 4 burner) booths for parties. I've gone once with a toddler and a baby and they were able to accommodate us just fine. To fit the romantic atmosphere, there is very little lighting so that's just a heads up.
Experience it for Less:
As I mentioned, the prices at the Melting Pot are on the high side. But that doesn't mean there aren't ways to get the experience without breaking the bank.
First, there is late night special every night from 9pm until close. It's a two for $22 deal. You and a friend get to share your choice of cheese fondue OR chocolate fondue, plus a choice of beverage (house wine, draft bear, coffee, tea or soda). You will have to mention that you will be getting the "Late Night Special" when you are making your reservations.
|Ying Yang Martini|
Then there's Happy Hour. According to the website, it's every Friday and Saturday from 5pm-7pm. The Melting Pot sets up three pots of complimentary cheese fondue at the bar for patrons. And there's also deals on drinks: $5 martinis and $2 drafts. No reservations are needed for this one. This could be a great way to start your evening. Have a few drinks and your appetizer course here before going elsewhere for the main course.