Melting Pot Restaurant
This post will probably be moved as it is a chain, but I've been to the one in Minneapolis. The servers spend a great deal of time explaining fondue, a bit too much.
The food is very good, many options(bread, veggies and cheese for apps, different meats, fish in oil for mains)but pricey. But after fondue for appetizers and for entree, we went elsewhere for dessert. It got old quickly and was almost 3 hours for 2 courses.
That said, I would go back for apps and wine or just for dessert. Just not an entire meal.
There are non fondue entrees available as well.
Have eaten at the one in DC a couple of times, it's fun and pretty good but quite pricey. Can easily run $50 pp before drinks. Especially good with 4-8 people, more than that and it becomes a bit of a zoo!
The priciness is the thing that keeps me from going there. For what I'd pay for four people to eat there, I could buy fixings for a lavish fondue dinner in the comfort of my own home (including a huge fondue pot) and still have a significant chunk of change left over.
I went there as a college student on a gift card. :-D Otherwise, it's a nice special occasion place, but I guess I'm old-fashioned in that I prefer the kitchen cook my food! heehee
Maybe now that I'm a better cook I wouldn't mind trying it again. The dessert was divine -- milk, dark or white chocolate with the liqueur of your choice (kahlua and frangelico are good choices) and crazy options to dip: strawberries, bananas, pound cake, marshmallows, brownies, it's just sick.
For the cheese course, I tried a traditional fondue, I think it was Swiss or Emmenthaler with kirschwasser. Not too much to my taste -- if I went back, I'd get the cheddar/beer one, I heard that's better. Various breads and apples to dip.
Our dinner course was great -- my companion had a cajun-style grill with chicken, beef and andouille sausage with spices. I had seafood -- shrimp, scallops and I think salmon, with tempura batter and great sauces to dip in. Again, labor intensive but fun for two, more and I think it would get crazy (and crazy expensive!).
As others mentioned, it takes QUITE a long time to eat there -- NOT for kids (hello hot oil!) and for night when you have time to relax and enjoy your food and company.
I posted about a Melting Pot experience a few years ago. Haven't been back since, but what was most remarkable was the food odor that penetrated my clothing, shoes, and purse after my dining experience. I could smell the onion and garlic odor when getting into my car, and had to take off my clothes outside before my kid would let me in the house door. In other posts, people had similar experiences, seems like it depended on where you were seated in the restaurant, better ventilation in some spots. I know, food odors are normal when you come home from dining, but this was extreme, had to throw out the purse, and shoes became outdoor garden shoes after that.
I completely agree with the stench factor. I wouldn't go back, even if it was free. I sat at the bar, close to the door leading out of the restaurant, and came away REEKING. I drove about 30 minutes with my convertible top down and that didn't even air the smell out. I feel bad for the poor employees (or maybe their SO's) who have to endure smelling like that!
We went to one the other night near SF.
There is a trick that our server shared with us a few visits back that will make all the difference in the world for your experience at the Melting Pot.
The menus are priced per person (approx $44pp) but you DO NOT need to order for the exact number in your party. For ex....we had 5 people and ordered the menu for 2 for $88 plus one extra person for $44. It was A TON OF FOOD!! 4 courses!! Another time we ordered only for 2 for a party of 4 and added a salad for $7.
This way the cost will come down considerably and I guarantee it will be more than enough food. You just had to find the right waitstaff to clue you in on the secret to the place!
Several of my friends don't balk at all, at the prices at the MP, and yet they consider other fine dining places to be " too expensive". I think it's a matter of being intimidated by unfamiliar food, served in a more formal setting. The math just doesn't compute at MP. For me, It's much ado about nothing.
Hands down the worst restaurant-and the biggest ripoff-I've ever been to. The ingredients were so cheap-the veggies were clearly bought precut in big bags, the salmon was farmed, etc, and the prices were just offensive given this fact. No one is even back there cooking, they use cheap ingredients and they charge those prices??? Service was awful as the waitress kept trying to "upsell" with a canned speech. And the fondues all were bland.
After I went, I posted my experience on another food board, and a ton of people shared their own horror stories. My favorite quote from that thread was something like "I wanted to singe my face on one of the burners so I'd never forget how painful the experience was."