Monday, August 4, 2008

The Melting Pot

In the mail, for my birthday, I got a free chocolate fondue at The Melting Pot. So when Big Daddy asked where I wanted to go for supper to mark the occasion, I chose there. I had heard rave reviews of The Melting Pot from two friends. I thought we would try it out for ourselves.
We got there at 6:00 PM. We were asked if we had reservations, we did not. But we were seated immediately. On a Monday night, there were a handful in the restaurant as we got there. Although, when we left just before 8 the place had filled up considerably.
Our waitress was very kind and explained the process since we were "melting pot virgins".
The complete fondue experience is served in four courses....

1. A cheese fondue
2. select a salad an entree and cooking style
4. select your chocolate fondue.

We started our fondue experience with the cheese fondue. There were 6 choices of cheese fondues, from the basic cheddar cheese, to fiesta and spinach artichoke to name a few. Tom let me choose. I selected the Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue. The waitress soon returned with the makings for our selection. On the center of the dining table is a small rectangle cooking hot plate, if you will. It has an eye on it like the stove at your home might have. This is where all of the fondue meals are created.
For our swiss fondue the waitress used Gruyere and Emmenthaler Swiss cheese, white wine, garlic, the juice of one lemon squeezed (it was at this moment that Big Daddy had a flashback to a Seinfeld episode-as it always is with us-Man Hands. "She has man hands Jerry!"). She then stirred the pot and then added a dash of nutmeg and some Kirschwasser brandy. The cheese fondue came with dippers of cubed breads of different kinds, apple slices and vegetable medley of carrots, cauliflower and celery. The waitress explained that we would have "bottomless bowls" of the dippers-until the cheese ran out. Then the waitress left and allowed us to , "dip"

I must say that this was the course that I was most enthused about. I have often touted my love of cheese on my blog, so when I dunked into the cheese, I will admit that I wasn't happy. There is rarely a cheese I do not like. In fact, I think it was most certainly the brandy and wine combo, rather than the cheese alone. The dip was very strong and overpowered the sides. It came up short with both Big D and I. At $15.00 for the side, I was a very disappointed. As was the tightwad.
Next up was the salad course. I chose the California Salad. All salads that are a la carte are $6.00 each. The California came mixed with salad greens, roma tomatoes (almost to many for me), walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese with a raspberry black walnut vinaigrette dressing. Mine was delicious. The combination of flavors was intense and robust.
Big Daddy (who thought his came with his meal...) ordered the House Salad. Made with crisp greens, roma tomatoes (alot of them), cucumbers, eggs and Emmenthaler Swiss cheese. It was served with "Tangy House dressing". I knew the moment that the waitress sat the salad down on our table that Big Daddy would not eat it. He is not much of a vegetable connoisseur. He likes a basic green with ranch. He's not one for things that are different. I thought it was a beautiful salad, full of color. He took one bite and wanted no further part of it. He hated the dressing. It looked to be a mustard. I tried it and it was "ok", not very good in my honest opinion. And I love salad dressings. I am an admitted condiment lover, but this I too was not wild about. It was a salad wasted because I certainly could not eat both. Strike two.

"I am just waiting on my steak.....", it was all that Big Daddy kept saying when we struck out with the cheese and the salads. Finally it came. Big Daddy selected the Shrimp and Sirloin for $19.00. This was white shrimp and teriyaki marinated sirloin. It was served along with some 6 different dipping sauces for the steak and shrimp (green goddess, cocktail sauce, mustard sauce, teriyaki sauce, apricot sauce, and a blue cheese/Gorgonzola dip).
When you select an entree you also select a "cooking style". That is your entree is cooked in any of the fondue liquids. There are four to select from:

Coq au Vin Fondue (Burgundy wine with herbs and spices), Mojo Fondue (Caribbean seasoned bouillon with garlic and citrus). This two pots are $6.00 per pot, which we didn't realize that it was more, where the remaining two are complimentary. If this were the case, Big Daddy would've chosen different. He chose the Mojo. The two complimentary pots are Fondue Bourguignonne (Canola oil) and Fondue Court Bouillon (seasoned vegetable broth). Believe me, if this is all confusing to you, it was to us too. I have often said, I am a simple girl. I can adapt for the occasion and go almost undetected , but I really am not a fufu type. Big Daddy said, "This is Fufu Fondue". And he was right.

On his $19.00 plate was 6 cubes of sirloin and 6 shrimp.
He made the best of it by "making the 6 pieces of steak....what I might would cut up for my kids meals, into 12 small bites", but it was about this point that we came to a unanimous decision that this would be our last trip to the "Pot". His meal also came with a small plate of vegetables, 2 new potatoes, cubed, about 8 mushroom tops, 4 sliced squash piece's and 3 pieces of broccoli. Again, Big Daddy doesn't much care for vegetables. He would've much preferred some mashed potatoes and gravy to his side plate. A side plate that he didn't eat a single bite of. (cha-ching...more $$ down the drain)

Finally, the freebie was served. The chocolate fondue. There are 9 different cooking styles for the chocolate fondue. We chose the original recipe of signature milk chocolate with a swirl of crunchy peanut butter. Regularly the chocolate fondue is $15.00 for the small and $28.00 for the large portion. Fortunately for us, we had the free coupon. And this part was the best of the night. Served with fresh strawberries, bananas, cheesecake, marshmallows (rolled in both Oreo and graham cracker), pound cake, rice krispy treats cubed and brownies. Big Daddy allowed me the strawberries and he was granted the rest. It was decadent. Rich. Good.

Honestly, though, as Big Daddy and I got up to leave we were both feeling nauseous. I cannot say it was that we ate to much in portion. We didn't. But we agreed that the Cheese Fondue that we selected had made us queasy by this time. It did not sit right with either of us. I think had we selected a different cheese, we would probably have liked it and our entire experience much better. Additionally, Big Daddy was charged $6.00 for his salad (the one he didn't eat). I realized, only after we got home that we were over charged, it should have been included with his meal, according to the menu. Mine, however, was a la carte, thus $6.00. Our total for our meal (remember, I did not order an entree) was $61.00 (this included the tip-remember our meal for 2 people was the appetizer, salad and one entree. Dessert was free. I drank water, Big D a tea).

Maybe the price also had something to do with our being nauseous?

Maybe you will have a different experience....
The Melting Pot
611 Doug Baker Blvd. #210
Birmingham, Alabama 35242
(205) 981-8001


Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

We've never tried The Melting Pot, because the nearest one is about 50 miles from here, that is if it's still open. A friend has tried it and she was not impressed.

Thanks for the review, Leigh.

Wonderful post.

Trina said...

Have not been there yet, but thanks for the review! Maybe hubs and I would go just for the chocolate fondue...although my hubs doesn't like chocolate...hmm, maybe with some girlfriends then. lol :)

butterflygirl said...

When I was married, my husband and I went to a local fondue establishment and had the same kind of experience...we never went back. As long as you enjoyed the chcolate-that's all that matters! Happy belated birthday wishes!

"J" said...

Mr "S" and I were going to go several differnt times BUT never made it! It sounds like a lot to take in that is for sure! I can tell you right now Mr. "S" wouldn't really care for it!

Can you just sgo in and order the chocolate fondue?

I would have got the fiesta or spinach artichoke cheese fondue! Sounds yummy!

I have some dressing I want to mail you! I get it at our local farmers market! I bet you would like it! I do! =) It's a sweet and tangy! No fat!!! =)

I seen your comment on the Menu Monday! I'm loving it! I picked up so many differnt great meal ideas from alllllllllllllllllllllll the other blogs that enter!!!! LOVE IT!!!!!!

Keetha said...

There's a Melting Pot in Indy. I've never been, but I've also heard mixed reviews from those who have eaten there.

I remember fondus from the '70's. I think I'll stick with Outback or Texas Roadhouse!!! Hehehehehehehe

Leigh said...

Pat- I was very disappointed.

Trina-It would be fun with some girlfriends to get the large choclate fondue and split it over some coffee

butter FLY-Girl-I had high expectations goin ginto it, maybe that is why it was such a big let down.

J-You and I seem to be alot alike. I think you would feel the same. Although you can go in and order just the chocolate or just the cheese appetizer. If I ever do, I will make a differnt selection in the cheese. I tried to be diffiernt with the choice and I like those cheeses. I thought the fiesta would be what I can get at any local Mexican place for 3 bucks so hated to spend the 15 on it. If there were to ever be a next time I think I will try the cheddar blend.
I would love to try the dressing! I am a salad-a-holic. And you know how I love the condiment. SOunds delicious! And the meal plan is really cool.

Keetha- I too recall fondue that my mom would do and we would sit at our kitchen table. It was neat. I won 2 fondue pots and never use them. I think I will break mine out and do it at home for MUCH less $$$.
In my review I really wanted to say that I wished we had gone to any of the restuarants that you named, we would have spent less than half of our total. We would spend may 61 bucks on our family if five at those places. A far better deal. I hate coming up short...

Welcome to Our Lives... said...

Hey Girl, Happy Birthday! I am finally back in blog land!! It looks like you are having a great summer. I missed reading your blog- it's good to be back. :)

Zinnia said...

We have never been there and doubt we ever will after your review! We like getting our money's worth when we go out.

I'm glad you got a chance to go out but hate that you didn't enjoy it more.

Anonymous said...

Oh Happy Birthday!!!!
I ate at the MP in Destin and I too thought it was extremely $$$!
4 adults and 3 kids- Total price $450.00- we did have a couple of drinks, but still.....

tricki_nicki said...

I love The Melting Pot, but we get half off because of our corporate discount...I might not like it as much if I had to pay full price!

Honestly though, I can make it just as good (or better) at home!!

Anonymous said...

Glad you got to go for your Birthday girlfriend. But sounds pricey to me also. Mr. L would not like it I am sure, he seems to have the same taste as Big D.
Anyway the chocolate sounds good but the rest you could do at home cheaper and to your taste.
I believe I still have a fondue pot downstairs on the shelf??? might try that one night....
Love ya
MaMa J