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
3.select 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.
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