Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Melting Pot: New Fondue

Some food traditions seem to get lost in the past, yet they can be quite fascinating and some may even be worth reviving. For example, there is an old tradition involving cheese fondue. Diners commonly dipped, at the end of long forks, cubes of bread into the melted cheese. If a man's bread fell off his fork into the fondue, then he had to buy a round of drinks for everyone else at the table. If a woman's bread fell off her fork, she had to kiss every man at the table. Reviving this tradition might help promote fondue.

Over five years ago, I had my first dining experience at The Melting Pot in Bedford-Burlington, one of the few local restaurants where you can experience fondue. I enjoyed my dinners at The Melting Pot and have returned a number of times over the past years. I like the idea of fondue, and feel it can be both fun and intimate. Nestled in the Lover's Lane section, a couple gains a measure of privacy and sharing fondue is quite an intimate act. Larger groups can have plenty of fun with fondue and I once attended a friend's birthday party there. The Melting Pot is a restaurant I have long recommended and continue to do so.

Recently, I was invited to The Melting Pot as a media guest to check out a few of their new menu items, and once again I had a delicious and intimate dinner, sitting in the Lover's Lane section.  

We began with the Bacon & Brie Cheese Fondue, which is made from baby Brie, Gruyere, Emmenthaler, white wine, applewood smoked bacon, chopped onions, mustard, and cracked black pepper. The smoky bacon aromas are prominent as the fondue is prepared in front of you. That bacon flavor also came out in the taste, combining with the savory cheese elements. A potent combination. Though I like dipping bread into the cheese, I especially enjoy the chunks of green apple, which have a nice crispness and a certain tartness. This is a fine, new addition to their cheese fondue selections.

The Strawberry Almond Salad is another new addition, with sliced strawberries, honey roasted sliced almonds, crumbled feta, and greens topped by a Raspberry Black Walnut Vinaigrette. A good combination of fresh flavors and textures.

Going a little old school, I chose the Wisconsin Wedge, an iceberg wedge with Roma tomatoes, applewood smoked bacon and a large chunk of Emmi Roth Kase Gorgonzola. Rather than the usual dressing, I opted instead for the Burgundy Shallot warm salad dressing. I loved the dressing, with its rich flavors, and it went well with the salad ingredients. Plus, the hunk of sharp Gorgonzola was very pleasing.

The restaurant has started a new program, Fondue-for-U, where each diner can select their own entree by choosing 3 items from a 14 choice list. At $19 per person, this is now the least expensive entree option on the menu. Plus, if you get a salad with your entree, it only costs an additional $6, which is a $2 savings off the usual salad price. As there were two of us, we each chose three different items, planning to share. We ended up with filet mignon, shrimp, chicken, BBQ pork tenderloin, Andouille sausage, and duck breast. We also selected the Bourguignonne cooking style, hot oil to cook our food. In addition, you receive two batters, sesame seed and tempura, with six sauces, including Gorgonzola Port, Teriyaki, Sweet & Sour, Green Goddess, Spicy Cocktail, and Curry.

This was actually my first time ordering this cooking style and I enjoyed dipping some of the meats, like the duck and chicken, in the different batters, creating a nice coating. The meats were generally tender and flavorful, and my favorite sauce was the creamy Gorgonzola Port. We had plenty to eat and I like the concept of getting to personalize your entree choices. Plus, it is even cheaper than the other entrees.

We had just enough room for dessert. Another new addition is the White Chocolate Creme Brulee, which is lit on fire table side. Even if you are not usually a fan of white chocolate, you will likely enjoy this tasty dessert fondue. The caramelized sugars atop the fondue added a crunchy element, which I especially enjoyed with the fruit. You also have plenty of other sweets to dip, from marshmallows to cheesecake. It was a fine way to end our dinner.

The Melting Pot has remained consistent over the years and you should check out their new fondue menu. I know some people are reluctant to visit The Melting Pot because they believe it is too expensive. That is a misconception and breaking down the costs shows it is much more reasonably priced than many realize. Two people can enjoy a 4 Course meal for a total of $82-$96. How many other places can two people go and get a 4 course meal for under $100?

If you don't want 4 courses, you can order as few as you like, even just a Dessert fondue. The Cheese fondue ($17) and Dessert fondues ($19) are intended for 2 people to share, so the price per person is only $8.50 and $9.50, which is similar, if not less expensive, than what Appetizers and Desserts cost at many other places. And with the new Fondue-for-U, your entree only costs $19 per person. So give The Melting Pot a try.

1 comment:

Matthew 'mmWine' Horbund said...

I have always wanted to go to the melting pot. My cousin worked at one in NJ, actually. I believe the one in West Palm Beach closed, I'll have to go look!

Revive the tradition and hope everyone drops their bread in the cheese! I'm for that!