La Fondue, we hardly knew ye

I got taken to The Melting Pot last night for my birthday dinner, and we weren’t quite sure what to expect. I had no doubt that it would not be medieval-themed. I also knew upfront that they don’t offer an option to grill your meat, so dipping in hot oil would be the preparation du’jour.

Dan and I became so attached to La Fondue when living in the Bay Area that we have squeezed it into our budget and our tight itineraries when visiting, even if just for a long weekend. It was the de facto special event place. But La Fondue is expensive. And it’s very hard even to get a reservation, since they only do two seatings per night. Going to The Melting Pot was a gamble, because it’s a chain, and it doesn’t have the aforementioned grilling option, and no one we know had ever been there.

However, The Melting Pot exceeded our expectations. The cheese fondue was on par with La Fondue, which is to say so fantastic that you scrape the bottom with the very last piece of apple or breadcrumb you can find. My salad was excellent, although Dan got some weird “mushroom salad,” which even the waitress described as “90% mushrooms.” The entrees were in an oil bouillion, which came out great. It’s really the sauces that make the entree anyway, and The Melting Pot was generous enough to let us have all their sauces (we asked) and not just those that typically come with the entree we selected.

The piece de resistance, though — as is often the case with any special dinner — was dessert. And this is where The Melting Pot just blows La Fondue out of the water. La Fondue offers you three chocolate choices and about seven or eight flavors to mix in. You can order it that way at The Melting Pot, too, but they have some exciting pre-configured chocolate fondues. For example, Dan and I ordered the S’mores fondue, which involved milk chocolate swirled with marshmallow cream, which is then set on fire. It was amazingly awesome.

Oh, and The Melting Pot is about 1/3 less expensive.

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