The yellow goo boiling on my table was a pot of gold for any cheese lover. I meticulously dipped cubes of bread and apple wedges deep into the pot’s center, and savored each bite.
This is my second visit to the Melting Pot. On both occasions, I went on the restaurant’s super popular Girls Night Out. During my trip in November, I was accompanied by two other women. During my most recent visit, I opted instead to bring a male dining companion. You would think being the lone man in a den of chocolate-devouring, high-pitched cackling women would be intimidating to say the least, but as he glanced around the cozy-yet-chic dining area he simply commented, “This would be a great place to pick up chicks.”
A happy hour placard on the table caught our attention first and we opted for some strong elixirs before the meal. According to our server, the most popular mixed drinks are the Ruby Martini (Skyy Citrus vodka, grapefruit and cranberry) and the Sangria (red wine, brandy, fresh fruit). Having spent some time in Spain, I was curious about the Sangria. The flavor was reminiscent of apple cider instead of traditional Sangria, however we both agreed it was tasty and refreshing all the same.
For those not yet exposed to fondue dining, it’s basically a very fancy chips-and-dip scenario. You have your dry goods, which vary with each course to include breads, veggies, fruits and meats, and you dip them with these very clever forks into a sauce of some kind. The Girls Night Out menu is predetermined, making it a no-brainer for the fondue novice.
The first course started with a Samuel Adams Light beer base and heaping spoonfuls of garlic. The server prepared the fondue at our table by slowly stirring in shredded cheddar and Swiss chesses and a splash of mustard seed to finish it off. Our favorite dipper was the bread cubes—French, wheat and taro. However, there are Granny Smith apples and raw vegetables to play with as well.
The second course was a salad—Cesar or California. Both were pretty standard, but my dining companion (who likes to say he is a Cesar salad connoisseur because he orders one every time we eat out) said that it was good overall and very cheesy (cheesy yum-yum, not cheesy ha-ha). I thought the parmesan-crusted pine nuts were a creative touch. At this point, I ditched my mixed drink and went for a more food-friendly cocktail, California sparkling wine.
The coolest part about the main course is everything comes out on these sleek, white dishes with tiny compartments for different proteins and sauces. Entrees come with two pieces of raw beef, three pieces of raw chicken in a honey Dijon rub, two shrimp shaped into a heart and three pieces of spinach ravioli.
You cook them, again using the super cute fondue fork, in a vegetable bullion bath for about 1 to 2 minutes. Then, there’s a smorgasbord of sauces to eat them with. My favorites are the beef with Gorgonzola sauce and the ravioli with ginger plum sauce. Since I overcooked all my chicken pieces, my dining mate let me try a piece of his with a mix of the curry and teriyaki sauces.
I was looking forward to dessert the most. I am a will-slit-your-throat-for-a-piece-of-chocolate kind of gal and was delighted when the dark chocolate fondue arrived. The pupu platter of dessert dippers included brownies, marshmallows, pineapple, strawberries and cheesecake, to name a few. My favorites are the pound cake and fresh fruit since they drew in the flavors best and complemented the chocolate well. We ended our meal with a cup of coffee and left feeling satisfied and indulgent but not overly full.
My most recent trip was the third Girls Night Out event, which has proved to be very successful. Not only is the restaurant getting gleaming reviews by word of mouth, they are also collaborating with several other local businesses. Each Girls Night Out includes promotions from clothing and jewelry vendors, such as a table-to-table fashion show and raffle drawing, and some offbeat promotions like Tarot card readings and an “adult” shop display.
This is a great excuse for women to get together once a month over a fabulous martini, wearing their best stilettos, for some much-needed girl time. And, guys, you might have fun too. MTW