Randomly one night at dinner hubby and I were talking about fondue. The kids became quite interested in the idea of cooking your own food and asked if there was a restaurant in town where you could do it—and as soon as we mentioned the Melting Pot, my son was locked in on what he wanted for his birthday. We went with both sets of grandparents, so there were eight of us. First, I don’t recommend this many people with fondue—the table they had was fairly cramped and we only had two pots between us. It was a little challenging.
There are several ways to order here, but we just went with the “4 course experience.” For this, you choose a cheese fondue for each burner, a salad, an entrée and a dessert. For our cheese, we chose gorgonzola and bacon and the “Alpine Classic.” The favorite of the table was the gorgonzola—there was butterkase and fontina cheese as well as the gorgonzola. For seasoning, they put in garlic and white wine. It was served with bread, fruit and veggies. The Alpine had gruyere, raclette and fontina and was also seasoned with garlic and wine as well as lemon and nutmeg. I don’t know if our server just really overdid it with the nutmeg, but this one had an off taste. The kids really didn’t like it. I think if we went again, we’d try one of the cheddar and beer-based versions.
I had the house salad—it was just okay. It had romaine and iceberg, cheddar, sliced boiled egg, tomatoes and crouton. I went with their ranch. There wasn’t quite enough of the dressing to coat everything. All in all, everyone else’s Caesars were better.
The choices for entrées for the “4 course experience” are varied and all contain a variety of meats. It was hard for me to find one that had exactly what I wanted, but hubby and I got different combos and shared and had way more than enough food. It’s kind of crazy how much they give you. I got the “Land and Sea” ($34.95 for the 4 courses) and hubby ordered the “Seafood Trio” ($34.95 for the 4 courses). Land and Sea included filet mignon, herb crusted chicken and shrimp. The seafood trio was salmon, sesame-crusted Ahi tuna and shrimp. In our pots, we had a “mojo” cooking liquid with bouillon, garlic and citrus and the Coq au Vin, or a red wine-based sauce with herbs, spices and mushrooms. So you spear your raw meat and stick it in and cook it yourself. They give you some general timing recommendations—all different for all the different meats and in general, all too long unless you enjoy meat that is similar to shoe leather. However, we figured out the more appropriate timing for ourselves, and used our various electronic devices to try and keep track. Except both my kids (who split a dinner which also included lobster) kept asking me, “Mom, is my lobster/chicken/steak done??” And I was trying to keep track of my own stuff and both of theirs and lord help you if you stick two forks in at the same time with two different ingredients. Oy. I was exhausted by the end of this course. And I hadn’t even eaten all the stuff on my plate (FYI, there wasa lot of shrimp left over). I don’t know, even with the various sauces they served with the meat, it still just tasted like meat and seafood that was boiled. And it didn’t help the sauces, which were mainly sweet-type sauces (teriyaki, BBQ, sweet chili) and tasted like they came out of a bottle.
Ok, I just need to stop talking about the meat portion—I really didn't enjoy it. It’s one of those things that is more bother than it’s worth. I would rather just cook at home. But dessert, now that’s an entirely different story. The various versions of chocolate fondue all sound good and all were good. My son is somewhat of a purist and just went with straight dark chocolate and I wasn’t complaining (and was glad I was sitting next to him), We had some milk chocolate fans as well so we got the flaming turtle too—well, we got it without nuts due to an allergy, so it was flambéed milk chocolate with caramel mixed in. They give you all kind of fun stuff to dip it—fruit, rice crispies, pound cake and even chocolate and graham cracker coated marshmallows. There were even brownies and blondies—although I am not sure why you need to dip a brownie into more chocolate, but my daughter seemed to enjoy it. Actually, both my kids ate so much of the dessert; they were bouncing off the walls. It was a fun and yummy dessert and I would go back just for dessert. You can also go for cheese and dessert, which is a decent option. But ultimately the chocolate fondue is where it’s at—and the meat, we’ll it’s not that great and too damn much work.
The Melting Pot
5650 East 86th Street