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Nov 11, 2012 08:41 PM

The Melting Pot

I bought a $20 for $40 worth of food deal at The Melting Pot. Never been there before. Yes, it's probably hokey, but I like going to new places! Plus I wouldn't normally go there without the coupon, ($$$) So who's been there, what did you like, what did you hate, etc.

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  1. I've been many times, usually for friends' birthday dinners with large groups.

    Their salads and cheese fondue (wisconsin trio or traditional swiss) are quite decent, if pricey.

    I haven't enjoyed their "entrees"; the meat and especially the seafood is of mediocre quality, and you're paying a crazy amount of money for, essentially, a small amount of meat chunks and a cauldron of broth. Nothing really tastes that great coming out of the broth (or oil).

    The desert fondues are decent enough -- a bowl of melted chocolate's hard to complain about. I enjoyed the dark chocolate with Chambourd last time I was there. Drinks are very expensive; I avoid alcohol when I'm there.

    The big issues with Melting Pot are the high prices, mediocre main course fondues, and the fact that it's an awful place to go with large groups; you end up huddled around your fondue with your table of two or four people, and there's literal dividers between booths, so conversation or relaxed chatting with friends at the table is nearly impossible.

    For a $40 meal, I would get a salad, a cheese fondue, and maybe a desert, and call it a day.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Boston_Otter

      Thanks for the input! Yeah I've heard the entrees aren't good, they don't look good to me personally. I was planning to either to cheese fondue, salad, chocolate fondue, OR cheese fondue, cheese fondue, chocolate fondue (and hope that my boyfriend and I won't be judged for it haha). I was wondering which cheese fondue(s) to choose haha.

      1. re: Meowzerz

        I like the Wisconsin Trio because it adds blue cheese, but their 'traditional' is pretty much what you get if you order fondue in Switzerland. They have spicy ones with pepper jack cheese and such, as well, but I don't think they're as good with the bread & apples you get to dip. If you stick with the simple stuff and avoid the "Big Night Out" combos, it's a fun date night.

      2. re: Boston_Otter

        I too appreciate the input. We've never been, and I've wanted to go for a long time. I will file in my mind your comments. Thanks, and I do hope to get there eventually!!

        1. re: Boston_Otter

          Totally agree with you, Boston_Otter. I am not a fan of The Melting Pot, but I sometimes get dragged there. The Wisconsin Trio, like you mentioned, is my favorite offering. The Traditional Cheese is also solid. The people I've gone with have always enjoyed the Chocolate Fondue, but I'm not so much a fan of sweets. Nobody has thought much great about the salad, meat or seafood offerings.

          Believe it or not, the location I've been to has a pretty nice happy hour, which tends to be hopping a little bit on Thursday-Friday. Unless my memory is hazy (my memory is often hazy), the cocktails are $5, beers are $3 and both the cheese and chocolate fondues are half-off. The decor is subdued, the lighting is dim, and it actually doesn't make for a bad date-night if you wanna do something slightly hokey or just want to try something different...

          1. re: MonMauler

            I should clarify that the only salad there that's been more than just 'okay' was the Spinach Mushroom Salad... they really load it up with mushrooms and bacon, and the dressing they use is pretty nice. It's really decent. The others are just iceberg lettuce with stuff tossed atop.

            1. re: Boston_Otter

              MMm I'll use any excuse to eat blue cheese. Thanks Boston_Otter!

              MonMauler- my groupon isn't good on alcohol (wah!) or happy hour. But those deals are nice! If I end up enjoying my time there, I'd go back for that.

          2. re: Boston_Otter

            I really enjoy the salad and cheese fondue, and that's about it for me. Not really a fan of the main course fondue. I'm not a huge chocolate person (the horrors!), but dessert was tasty. I think if I went again I'd just overindulge in the cheese course! Have had the spinach and artichoke and swiss cheese courses, and enjoyed both.

          3. We found them to be obscenely overpriced and abysmally slow for family dining
            They might constitute entertainment but there is nothing practical or even that special about them. Over the years we have done many fondue dinners with friends at a small fraction of their costs and with comparable if not better quality. If you have a $40. Voucher, good luck getting out of there without spending more. Sorry to rant, I am not normally a curmudgeon, but once ripped off for hard earned $$$ and nearly 3 interminable hours of my life, it just ain't a pretty memory.

            7 Replies
            1. re: ThanksVille

              One thing I will absolutely disagree with is the idea of "saving a ton of money by having cheese fondue at home". Yes, you can easily melt some Swiss and dip bread in it, but that's lousy fondue. Once you add up the cost of cheese, bread, wine, kirsch... you're spending $50+ for your cheese fondue, easily. I'd much rather go to The Melting Pot and have them do it for me, if I had a fondue craving.

              One thing that suzigirl mentions that I'll agree with is that drink costs add up very fast, since there's no free refills on anything... and cheese fondue is very salty. I drink a lot of water at Melting Pot :)

              1. re: Boston_Otter

                Not to contravene but here's our recipe and approximate costs for what I believe is an affordable home fondue

                1 lb Good Swiss cheese like Emmanthaler $12. Cost to shred 4 minutes
                1/4 lb good Fontina $3. Cost to shred 1 minute
                1/2 cup Reggiano Parmignano. $2. Cost to grate fine 2 minutes
                1 clove garlic $0.25. Cost to crush and rub inside fondue pot. 1 minute
                1.5 cups leftover Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc $3. Cost to pour 15 seconds
                1 tblspn flour $0.10 Cost to measure and which in 30 seconds
                1.5 oz kirsch or calvados $1.00. Cost to measure and pour in 15 seconds
                Cost for loaf of artisanal ciabatta great bread $3.00. Cost to cube bread 1 minute
                Cost for fresh ground white pepper $0.25 cost to grind pepper 15 seconds

                Dinner for family of 4 less than $5 per person using mostly ingredients already on hand and more often a mix of leftover cheeses

                1. re: ThanksVille

                  I totally know what you're saying; if you've got all of those things on hand already, then it's pretty cheap, absolutely.

                  But if you decide "hey, let's make fondue" and don't happen to have Emmenthaler, Fontina, a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, a bottle of kirsch, etc -- the 'startup costs' for a bowl of really good homemade fondue are pretty hefty. Kirsch alone will be about $30-$40. I know I don't have any of those things lying around, sadly :)

                  Thanks for the recipe, it sounds fantastic, and now I want fondue!

                  1. re: Boston_Otter

                    Start up costs may be steep, but you shouldn't count all the money spent to the cost of that meal. That bottle of kirsch should last you quite a while. So it may effect your cash flow but not your actual cost of the meal.

                    1. re: Boston_Otter

                      Does anybody know if kirsch comes in airplane bottle-size? That would be ideal for the occasional fondue.

                      1. re: pdxgastro

                        sniff... the size I've only had.

                2. re: ThanksVille

                  "Over the years we have done many fondue dinners with friends at a small fraction of their costs and with comparable if not better quality."

                  Well, that's a given and can be said of ANY chain restaurant vs. home cooking. Restaurants have a lot of overhead to account for that you do not have at home.

                3. The original comment has been removed
                  1. Get the cheese fondu and the chocolate fondue for desert and see how you like it. Stay away from everything else.

                    1 Reply
                    1. I have eaten at nearby locations several times and always enjoyed it. I agree, the meat course is okay, but enjoy the cheese fondue, the mushroom salad and the dessert fondue (we had the dark chocolate last time and it was so good). It is expensive, thus I have only eaten there a handful of times.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: libgirl2

                        Does anyone remember if Melting pot ever used to use oil rather than broth for their meat dishes? I generally find that oil always works better (hotter and more flavor) than broth. I assume that Melting Pot uses broth because its healthier and perhaps safer.

                        1. re: cwdonald

                          Last time I went, they offered four different ways to cook your food: broth, broth with red wine, a spicy "Caribbean" broth, or hot oil. The oil cooked more evenly and easily, but everything tasted of canola oil.