20 February 2009

Review: The Melting Pot

We love to eat. We've been known to go for the basic (fresh fruit / veggies), the awful (chips and soda), and the gourmet (my own creative cooking). We also like to eat out. We try to keep it to once a week. This time it was Valentine's Day and it was a Saturday. Outback wasn't going to cut it, so I made reservations for The Melting Pot in Towson (they also have a place in Rockville/Bethesda).
We showed up about a half hour early for our seating, and were guided to the bar where I had a Smithwick's draught and she had something deliciously fruity and alcoholic. It was fairly quite in the bar, and we shared a quiet married moment of being dressed up at a nice bar watching the Food Channel. They were not making fondue.
The Melting Pot, you see, is a fondue restaurant. They guided us to our table 15 minutes early (so it was 8:45 pm), and I promptly noticed the large electric burner with the HOT warnings on either side. The table surface itself was made of a ceramic tile of some sort - definitely more heat resistant that your average lacquered wood table. Something I noticed, that had been itching at me since we got there; it's very steamy inside the restaurant because of all the open pots of broth/oil cooking away at each of the tables.
Our waitress - a friendly, polite, and expert professional whose name escapes me - came over and gave us the rundown for the evening, and that we had a few choices to make even though the menu was set. We went with the garlic cheddar for our appetizer, the brothy goodness for our entree, and the chocolate turtle for dessert. Caesar salads came before the entrees.
Everything was delicious, from the first bite of cheese covered bread to the last morsel of marshmallow soaked in melted chocolate. I had some small issue with some of the seasoning choices for the pork and chicken, but overall everything was fantastic - even the coffee we ordered with dessert. Who knew that fillet Mignon boiled in spiced chicken broth could be so tasty?
My only other mark against - mostly my own fault - was the pacing of the meal. Judging by the table next to us they worked on a set timetable for each party. The other couple was abut 5 minutes behind us all evening. I would have preferred a more variable timing to the whole thing since we eat a little faster than most (especially all those pre-cut bites!) but I think this is God's expensive way of telling me to SLOW DOWN when I'm eating. The atmosphere (though steamy) was nice, the bathrooms are clean, and the staff is very helpful. It's incredibly pricey, but then fondue isn't exactly a nightly cuisine option at most dinner tables.
Though the next time I make some beef, I might consider boiling it in chicken broth.
Don't judge me.

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