The Melting Pot Fondue Restaurant--My First Time
This past weekend, I went to the Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant that just opened in Framingham, Massachusetts (a second location is planned for Burlington, MA). The atmosphere is very nice and designed for atmosphere. In the main dining room, all the seating is in cozy cloth covered padded booths, the table of which has an electric plate set into it for keeping the fondue hot. Soothing jazz played over the speaker system. The lighting is subdued.
The restaurant is on the pricey side, I paid $80 and change for the three course dinner for two (of course, current market prices for lobster, etc., will affect the cost). The fondues are available ala cart, with Cheese @ $14, entrees starting at $18, and chocolate dessert @ $16 for small & $32 for regular size.
Our waiter gave us the Melting Pot orientation, and made recommendations when asked. He also offered cooking advice, i.e. the rough cooking times for the items, 1-2 minutes, it’s o.k. to go a bit longer because the entrée broths are basically a fool-proof cooking method.
For our meal, we chose the three-course dinner featuring a cheese fondue, a salad course, and the entrée course. There was a four-course version that also included dessert, a chocolate fondue. Beyond the two comprehensive dinners, menu items can be purchased ala carte. The meal we had was very filling, and even if we had wanted dessert, we both felt we wouldn’t have had room for it.
We went traditional with the “Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue” that was made of Grùyere and Emmenthaler Swiss cheeses, white wine, garlic, nutmeg, lemon and Kirschwasser. This fondue was made directly at the table. For dipping, we received plenty of bread, baby carrots cauliflower, and celery.
The fondue was good, but there was a stand-out taste that I couldn’t put my finger on. While not entirely unpleasant, I would have preferred it not to be there.
“California Salad”--Mixed baby salad greens, Roma tomatoes, walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese, with a fresh Raspberry Black Walnut Vinaigrette Dressing.
The vinaigrette was very tasty and was the dominant flavor. I found the vinaigrette went well with a bite of Gorgonzola and the Walnut.
We chose for our cooking style, Coq au Vin, described as “Flavors of fresh herbs, mushrooms, garlic, spices and burgundy wine.” The menu indicates that this style is an additional $6.00, but is complimentary if the four-course meal is selected.
I did think that this would make a very tasty reduction if we let it boil down all the way.
For our entrée, we chose the “Signature Selection”--Tenderloin, shrimp, teriyaki-marinated sirloin, boneless breast of chicken, and fresh fish fillet. The vegetables that came with it included potatos, mushroom caps, broccoli, and zucchini slices.
We didn’t get the dessert course, but plan to go back another time just for that.
I would definitely go back, for both a meal or a late-night dessert after a movie.
* Reservations are strongly encouraged. We had tried to go as a walk-in the previous week, but were told they wouldn’t have anything available until 9 PM that night. We opted to come back another time after making reservations.
As a “consolation prize,” we got a $10 gift card from the manager. However, the gift card had the restriction of being valid Sunday-Thursday, and it was only good for the three or four course meal. Had I known this, I would have gone another night given the price of our meal.
I enjoyed my last time there, but I probably wouldn't go back for a meal -- just for desserts. It's just not that impressive, especially since they do not provide fans to keep customers from smelling like the food afterwards. I have been there just for a dessert fix, and usually special order the dark chocolate with nuts, flambeed.
We've been to the one in Virginia Beach. It's not for everyone. My husband can't stand the smell of the place so can't go with him. Most of the time we go "girls nite".
It's not really about the food there but the "experience". Personally, I like the food. My favorite cheese fondue is the swiss with the apples. They can keep the rest. As far as the cooking style, I prefer the plain boullion. The salad is good. Last time we went I had one with strawberries in it but I still prefer the one you had. The chocolate fondue is fun...you get to choose from at least 10 selections. By the way, if you go in a larger group, 5 or more, they give you two fondues...2 cheese selections, two cooking methods, and two chocolates. This sort of makes you feel you are getting more for the money.
Again, its about having fun and I'm sure it's not as good as authentic fondue but not all of us are lucky enough to have experienced all cuisines authentically.
If I had never had fondue before and had no idea what went into it, I'd probably be OK with the Melting Pot.
But I've lived in Switzerland, where fondue (and raclette) are a way of life, and I've been to much better fondue restaurants in the U.S., and so Melting Pot is just a pan of disappointment to me.