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May 7, 2002 12:51 PM

Melting Pot - Fondue / Any good?

  • c

Anybody been to the Melting Pot in Arlington? Is it any good? Which fondue is the best?

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  1. I think Melting Pot is tremendously overrated.

    I was taken to the one in Reston last summer for my birthday. Our server was a surfer dude who wished me Happy Birthday approximately 15 times during the course of the evening. Furthermore, one of my guests swore that she saw him drinking at the bar near our table. His descriptions of the menu items were vague, at best, yet his attitude somehow conveyed that he was one of the restaurant's veterans.

    Despite the gimmicky name and marketing, the food really isn't all that amazing.

    Typically you begin with cheese fondue, which is constructed before your eyes in the pot in the middle of the table. Vegetables and bread are presented for this course, followed by salads drenched in dressing. This is followed by the main course, which consists of a few handfuls of fish, chicken, and meat cooked in liquid (boullion, coq au vin, oil). So the idea is that you fill up on bread and salad and get a minimal amount of meat for the main course. The meats are served with assorted dipping sauces, so that the liquid you cook the meat in is completely moot (if you can taste the coq au vin through the overpowering barbeque or mustard sauce, more power to you). Consequently, in my opinion, it is best not to waste your money on the coq au vin (or other) upgrades.

    Dessert, arguably the best course is NOT included in the $50.00 paid for 2 people. So if you want to indulge in strawberries or cheesecake dipped in chocolate, you would need to shell an additional $10.00. I guess this is not much money in the grand scheme of things.

    What's most interesting is that if you search for "fondue" using the search engine at the link below, you can download both of the Melting Pot's cheese and chocolate fondue receipes (completely legitimately). So, with the Melting Pot, you are really paying for use of their equipment, the "ambiance" (high school lunchrooms have more ambiance), and the ability to gather a group of people in one area.

    For the cost of the raw ingredients and a cheap fondue pot with a Sterno (probably $30 at most), I would rather make fondue at home than return to Meling Pot


    1. Maybe I have no taste, but I love going there. (It sure doesn't fit in with the healthy goals, but they get suspended!) Frequently I skip the meat course and just get the salad, cheese, and chocolate. That alone will fill you up. The meat is very good when you get it - I just usually get so stuffed! The sauces are good - I've never worried about being able to "taste" the broth the meat is cooked in. I love the house salad - the dressing is so yummy I could lick the plate! I like the basic cheddar fondue made with beer and garlic, but I am also not a huge fan of the stinky cheeses. And the chocolate is always good. I always like the Flaming Turtle, which includes caramel and some sort of liquor set on fire.

      To be honest, the service is not as good at the Ballston location - they all seem like the spacy surfer dude already mentioned. The Rockville location is pretty good the last few times I have been there. But we also tend to go on Halloween so the atmosphere is a litle wacky on purpose. It is fun both for a large group who wants something different as well as just for two. There is also one in Reston somewhere, I think.

      1 Reply
      1. re: TerriS

        I guess, bottom line, it's a gimmick restaurant, but I have always walked away satisfied with my meal. It's fun to do something different every now and then.

      2. Took my out of town mom to Melting Pot hoping for a new and interesting experience. Jeffery's post was pretty much on point. Cheese course was okay. Salad was good - great dressing. Skip the meat course. It takes so long and is so messy and the end result is really lackluster. Only thing worth going for is the dessert.

        For short people the whole set up is uncomfortable. They set a pot on top of the table and I had to sit up on my knees most of the time just to see into the pot. Plus it just seemed dangerous to set a pot of hot oil on top of the table with no way of securing it. I would have been nervous if we had any kids with us.