The Melting Pot...my kids MADE me do it.
The kids really wanted to try the new Melting Pot (chain) restaurant in Pasadena on Wednesday. It was too crowded to get a table without an hour wait so we were seated in the bar where we were limited to ordering cheese and chocolate fondue. The kids chose a cheddar/gruyere mixture which was substantially greasy and flatly flavorless. This was accompanied by cubes of stale utterly undistinguished bread, and a bowl of what appeared to be the trim from one of those appetizer veggie platters from the Albertson’s which had been sitting a day. Literally, there were misshapen pieces of dried out baby carrots and awkward clumps of dirty celery root. I guess the intention is that these would be improved by an application of melted cheese. The kids ordered a s’more fondue for dessert which was just about as thrilling as the cheese. It came with unripe ill-cut strawberries and hefty hunks of pineapple which was about 3/4 core. The back entrance is through a private door you have to ring, like a gritty speakeasy. The decor airport lounge. The service was perky.
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wow.... that's completly opposite from my experience there. My wife an I went to one in orlando about a year or so ago, got a table no problem, found everything to be excelent. didn't have any of those problems at all. of couse as with all restraunts, there are always off nights, and as with all chains, some are not as good/well managed as others. Even so, it didn't seem like much of a kids place.
My girlfriend and her husband tried the location in Thousand Oaks, CA this past weekend and are still raving. They did a prix fixe dinner for $50/pp which was four courses including lobster that they said was incredible. Tons of food, very fresh, friendly and informative wait staff, didn't feel rushed at all. Would go back in a heartbeat.
I've eaten at the location in Irvine. On my way back from the bathroom I peered into the kitchen and spied a horrible, disorganized, disasterous mess. From what I could tell, the wait staff are the ones that arrange your platter of goodies.
We went to the newish one in Newport News, Virginia, on Sunday. We had previously been to the one in Somerville, NJ. I think this place is alot of fun, but if you're just going for the food it is still a chain restaurant. This time instead of the four- course-way-too-much-food route, we tried cheese, salad, then more cheese (then dessert...it was my birthday). Two cheeses definitely beat their weird meat entrees (can anyone really remember what all those sauces are for?), but the traditional gruyere/ementhaler blend was way better than the Wisconsin blend. We actually liked the Wisconsin blend when we had it in New Jersey, but it just didn't have as much flavor as the traditional. Overall, I love the experience and will definitely go again.
If you've never had fondue before, you'll probably think it's fine; if you've had it before, you'll probably think it's gross.
And in any case, the price is ridiculous for some cheese and bread and veggies.
I vote "no" on MP.
I've read a number of threads on this and Melting Pot seems to vary a lot from restaurant to restaurant. The one here in Cincinnati is not bad...I wish the bread was a little better and I think the price to food comparison is outrageous, but overall, it has always been an enjoyable experience.