Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Fondue! It's a fun word to say (or type). Fondue! Fondue! Fondue!
The other evening Becky and I visited The Melting Pot, which as it's tiny logo states, is a fondue restaurant. Truth be told, I had been dreading this day for several weeks. Becky had received a mailing and decided that the enclosed money saving coupon made it imperative that we visit the restaurant. I had no idea what fondue entailed and the thought of being motivated by a coupon stands against every professional sense I have.
Regardless, we set off for downtown Minneapolis with coupon in hand ready for a food adventure. We arrived just a few minutes before our 7:30pm reservation and just behind another couple who clearly had not made reservations but were instead hoping for an opening in the schedule. They were in luck as the hostess said that they were ready to be seated and after a non-exaggerated 3 minutes of analyzing the seating chart, picked which of the two tables they should go to.
Becky and I step up and are promptly told that we will have to wait for a few minutes and are handed one of those vibrating, light up pagers. In lieu of the conversation we had just overheard, we were perplexed, and The Melting Pot started off poorly and my hesitancy was slowly being confirmed.
Fortunately, from this point on, the evening improved. I would not be so irresponsible as to suggest that the alcoholic beverages helped, but hey, we firmly believe that a good martini (Becky) and a good glass of wine (yours truly) can forgive seating transgressions.
So what made this fondue restaurant different? The table has a large stove top smack dab in the middle, where three of the four meal courses are prepared. The silverware rolled up in the napkins includes two fondue forks for dunking various foods throughout the evening. Otherwise, the place looked like any other restaurant.
Course number one is the cheese portion of the meal. Selecting the cheddar cheese option, the server brought a slew of items, most notably shredded cheddar cheese and melted it into a goopy mess. Using the elongated fondue forks, we dipped two types of bread, cauliflower, and apples into what was a surprisingly tasty and flavorful concoction.
Course number two is the salad. I eat salads, but I can do without salads. Eh. Not much worth mentioning here.
Course number three is the main entree. Here we selected one of three different meat dishes, which feature anywhere from five to seven different combinations of meats, and one of four different spiced pots. Our particular pot was Caribbean flavored, and we enjoyed tuna (eh), chicken (Becky really liked), shrimp (I really liked), teriaki marinated sirloin (we both really liked), and fillet mignon (not of this world good). Generally speaking, we stabbed the uncooked, bite size meat and let it sink into the boiling pot. Two minutes later, a tasty morsel was ready for the taste buds.
Course number four is dessert, and is the single greatest thing I have ever consumed. Ever. With a slew of chocolate choices, Becky left the picking to the chocoholic in the family, and I did us well. The flavor was "S'mores," which consisted of a pot of boiling, melted dark chocolate, crumbled graham crackers, and lit on fire for dramatic flare marshmallows. The pot of goop before us, I probably could have drank as liquid heaven, but the server proceeded to bring out the dunking material. To soak in this dark chocolate goodness, we had bite sizes of strawberries, pineapples, bananas, marshmallows, brownies, pound cake, and cheesecake. It was unbelievable. I would have dunked my chair into the dark chocolate and eaten that, but to have ridiculously delicious desserts to dip into the melting pot was indescribable.
In fact, I've now made myself hungry. Go look up the nearest Melting Pot restaurant to you and go there now. I'm going to go boil something.
Photo from The Melting Pot