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The Melting Pot: bad expensive food

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Blumie Dec 19, 2006 06:45 PM

I know this belongs on the Chains board, but I'm hoping the mods will let it linger a bit before moving it or perhaps move it but leave a link behind on the Boston board.

I was dragged there last night. The prices are outrageous and the food is not very good. I actually prefer going to restaurants where trained chefs do the cooking for you, rather than purchasing plates of raw food and having to cook it myself at the table.

I guess the concept has proven to be very popular. Why is beyond me.

  1. wleatherette Mar 30, 2007 02:55 PM

    amen. we were dragged to one of these places by friends a while back, and our meal was shocking. from start to finish it was a disaster. the service was amateurish and pushy (lots of upselling), the place was loud and the decor dull, the wine list was a mess (although it ended up working to our advantage - some real bargains there because apparently no one knew how to accurately price things) and of course our waitress knew next to nothing about it, and the food was generic wedding reception-type crap (pedestrian veg selection; undistinguished, flavorless meats). really, it was just gross. the cheeses used were obviously of low quality, and the fondues were oily glop. then getting the bill... my god. talk about adding insult to injury. i would have preferred going to a denny's. at least they're more honest about the type of food and experience they offer, rather than selling an expensive fiasco to people who either don't know or don't care much about good food.

    1. m
      mojoeater Mar 29, 2007 07:26 PM

      I've seen the menu at our local Melting Pot and have no desire to go. It is one of the most expensive restaurants around, and fondue just isn't worth it. As someone above noted, I'd be willing to spend more on something that took more skill and had more developed tastes.

      That being said, I went to an authentic, non-chain fondue place a few years back and loved it. It wasn't as expensive as MP, and the fondue was very well made and delicious. And it is definitely a social experience.

      1. a
        AlyKen Mar 29, 2007 01:19 PM

        I've never understood the appeal of the Melting Pot, either. I grew up doing fondue at home and didn't see the point in paying that much to do it at a restaurant... It always makes me think of the old Steak 'n' Shake commercials where they call fast food places "workaurants." Spend $20 on a fondue pot at Target, buy your own oil and ingredients, and save the price tag...

        1. r
          rakh Feb 14, 2007 04:09 PM

          We loved our visit to the Melting Pot, except for the price. We have our own fondue pot, and make fondue twice per week (easy to make low carb, use cooked meat dipped in cheese fondue). Some of the comments people mention are the bane of chains; with those prices they should keep an eye on their franchisees. The one we went to outside of Atlanta was very good, but again, mine are better (you do learn the techniques and the cheeses to make a "perfect" fondue every time)!

          1. v
            veggiegirl Jan 1, 2007 07:19 PM

            For me, Melting Pot is a good example of how food tastes can change over the years. I went there the night of high school prom, and really liked it. I think it was the novelty and the fact I didn't know any better. We got some kind of cheese fondue; I can't remember much beyond that.

            Back at home with many of the same HS friends, went to Melting Pot again, and it was pretty bad. The fondue was greasy and separated from the cheese, and the veggies seemed cheap. The only veggie I can remember getting is celery, although I'm sure there must have been some other. The bread was mediocre gummy white bread. Now I'm sure fondue could be pretty tasty if you used the right ingredients, but Melting Pot is all about the gimmick. Which can be said about most chains if you ask me.

            1. m
              MommaJ Dec 30, 2006 04:10 AM

              I agree completely with all the above criticisms, and will add one more--the bread served with the cheese fondue is wretched, cottony junk. The place is just appalling.

              1. z
                ziggylu Dec 29, 2006 03:04 PM

                This is the one and only place my husband and I will absolutely refuse to go to. We've been twice with friends who suggested it - normally we're of the mind that we go for the company and won't object to a suggestion made by others and that's how we ended up here both times.

                Both times it was ridiculously expensive for what it was - fondue IS a very fun social experience and I could even forgive the mediocre at best quality if it weren't so expensive. But with wine, tax and tip it close to $200 for us both times! Too much money for a bad meal...

                After these two learning experiences if friends want to do fondue, we'll invite them over and do it at home. They want to go out for a group special occasion dinner? We encourage other choices or politely decline if plans are already made for the Melting Pot.

                1. d
                  DowntownHound Dec 29, 2006 11:37 AM

                  Wow, I wouldn't say this is one of my favorite restaurants; however, I’m surprised by what some of you are saying. When I have eaten there the veggies have always been fresh and the presentation has always been attractive. We’ve tried four of the dessert fondues and have always seen the chocolate chunks melted as the other ingredients melted and the liquor was added. I agree the prices put the chain into the “Special Occasion” category for a lot of people, but you have to admit... you do get a lot of food for your money, especially if you get “The Big Night Out.”

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: DowntownHound
                    b
                    Blumie Dec 29, 2006 03:45 PM

                    I had no complaints about the freshness of the ingredients, but that didn't help. And to say you get a lot of food for your money suggests a value proposition that just isn't there: yes. you can get a lot of food, but you pay a ridiculous amount for it. But I'm in the quality-over-quantity camp in any event, so no amount of that food will overcome its steep price for me. (On the other hand, I don't mind paying high prices for smaller portions of incredibly tasty, imaginative and well prepared food.)

                    1. re: Blumie
                      d
                      DowntownHound Dec 30, 2006 12:27 PM

                      Hi Blumie,

                      Have you ever been to Shabu Zen or Kaze in Boston's Chinatown? They're both Japanese Hotpot Style Restaurants?

                      1. re: DowntownHound
                        b
                        Blumie Dec 31, 2006 06:53 PM

                        I have not. Do you recommend them?

                        1. re: Blumie
                          d
                          DowntownHound Dec 31, 2006 09:39 PM

                          Hi Blumie,

                          If you'd like to give the HotPot or Fondue style of reataurant another shot I would. If it's the whole concept of cooking the food yourself you dislike you probably won't like these either. I'm pasting int the links for both below. Kaze is my favorite of the two.

                          http://www.kazeshabushabu.com/

                          http://www.shabuzen.com/

                  2. themis Dec 28, 2006 09:47 PM

                    I was really insulted by my one trip to the Melting Pot. For the price, I would expect something that better than I could throw together at home. But the chocolate fondue made with Hershey's syrup? Please. It flummoxes me that people are so happy to go there and just rave about it -- the food's fresher and better at any Olive Garden, which the same people will turn their noses up to. It's a paradox I can't quite explain.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: themis
                      r
                      RiverGirl Mar 29, 2007 12:44 PM

                      I have a friend who works at The Melting Pot and I can assure you that none of thier chocolate fondues are made with Hershey's syrup. If you were told that...i'd be real interested to find out which Melting Pot you were at.

                    2. c
                      christy319 Dec 28, 2006 09:29 PM

                      This is my all time worst dining experience. Cheap ingredients (veggies not fresh and clearly bought pre-cut, farmed salmon), the horrible "upselling" service, all the fondues tasted the same (bland), and it was expensive! Ugh. Just the memory makes me shudder.

                      1. r
                        Rick Dec 28, 2006 09:22 PM

                        I'll say that we had a fun night out here, but it was more entertainment than good food. You're right about the price! ALL THAT MONEY for food that isn't even cooked. Just think of all the money they save in kitchen equipment they don't have to buy.

                        1. silverbear Dec 22, 2006 12:02 AM

                          I tried it once in Scottsdale, AZ. The experience was fun, but the food was not memorable. I'd rather use my fondue pot at home, save money, and have more control over the ingredients.

                          1. Das Ubergeek Dec 20, 2006 04:02 PM

                            Ugh, I concur. The cheese separates after about 20 minutes into an oil slick atop protein, the chocolate burns too easily, and the price, for what you get, is ridiculous.

                            1. d
                              DowntownHound Dec 19, 2006 09:10 PM

                              Hi Blumie,

                              Did you go to the Melting Pot in Framingham? I agree the prices are a bit up there. However, it can be a fun evening with friends talking as you cook and enjoying your meal. What did you have? What exactly didn't you enjoy besides having to cook it yourself? I know it can seem a bit overwhelming with all of the sauces and if you chose oil the batters.

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