Full Disclosure: I paid for this meal with my own money and I was in no way reimbursed for this blog post. The opinions are completely my own.
A few years ago a restaurant called “The Melting Pot” opened a location in Madison. There was a lot of hype about it. People were very excited about the opening and the parking lot was ALWAYS crowded – well, it still is always crowded. In case you are not familiar, The Melting Pot is a fondue restaurant. At the time that the restaurant opened (3 years ago?) the only kind of fondue I was familiar with was cheese and chocolate. The concept of “fonduing” meat (is that even a word??) was very strange and scary to me. I imagined dipping raw meat into a vat of boiling oil – and that was not at all appealing to me.
A while passed and some friends owed us a dinner for taking care of their dog, and suggested we go there for dinner. I was skeptical. But, in an effort to not be the complicated one who can never find anything she likes, I agreed.
The good news is, since then my mind has been turned around on fonduing meat. We have been back there since for the whole “big night out” meal, as well as for just cheese and just chocolate.
We were just there last week, so that is what I’ll base this experience off of – although, I’ve never really had a horrible experience there.
So, the “Big Night Out” is kind of what The Melting Pot is famous for. It is basically a four course meal: cheese fondue, salad, meat, and dessert. When you read the menu, it seems like this is your only option – but it really is not. You can order whatever combination of cheese, chocolate, salad and meat that you want – you just get a price break when you order all four. This time, we happened to order all four courses.
For our cheese course, we ordered the Spinach and Artichoke Cheese. This is our favorite cheese – although, you really can’t go wrong with any of them.
With the cheese, you get dippers: apples, bread, tortilla chips, and veggies. The dippers are unlimited! (This is why you could definitely just come here for cheese fondue and make it into a meal) My personal favorite dippers are the bread, tortilla chips, and the apples. I was really surprised that I liked the apples dipped in cheese, but they are now close to my favorite thing to dip!
The next course was a salad, and I had their house salad with the house dressing. Normally I am a Ranch Dressing girl 100%, so it surprised me when I had their house dressing and I liked it! Their house dressing is more towards a French dressing – but sweeter and not as tangy. The salads there are delicious. They are also large enough that you could almost have it as a meal – and definitely a meal with either cheese or chocolate. Unfortuantely, the salad was so good, that I didn’t get a photo until I was most of the way done. Oops!
So here is a photo of my delicious – but mostly eaten – salad.
Oh, I also had a glass of wine.
The drink menu there is awesome. They have a huge wine and beer list and a full bar, as well as delicious specialty cocktails.
For our meat course, we had the fondue fusion, which is basically the mid range for the meat course. You get chicken, steak, shrimp, ravioli and a lobster tail. The cooking style (what we cooked the meat in) that we choose was the Court Bullion. Basically a light bullion, vegetable broth kinda thing.
Each month or so, they change their menu so you get different seasonings on your meat. This particular time, the seasonings were based on French cuisine, so the meat selection also included Duck! So now I get to check off duck from the “things I’ve never eaten” list. It was just ok. It did taste similar to the chicken, but not as good. More chewy or something.
The meat course also comes with a TON of dipping sauces. Some similar to teriyaki, sweet and sour, and cocktail sauce. Also (my favorites) green goddess, and gorgonzola port. YUM! If you get lobster and/or shrimp you also get a butter sauce and a lemon.
Along with the meat you also get potatoes, mushroom caps and broccoli to cook in the same broth as the meat. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of these, but the potatoes are actually really goood!
After writing about all of that delicious food, I’m full just thinking about it! But now its time for dessert. There is always room for dessert, right?!?
The chocolate fondue we had – and one we often have – was the s’mores. Milk chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker crumbs finished off with some flaming alcohol. It is, honestly, pretty plain, but still so good!! How can you go wrong with any kind of chocolate really?
With the chocolate you get a myriad of dippers as well – bananas, strawberries, pound cake, brownies, marshmallows and cheesecake! My favorites are the strawberries and the brownies!
If it hasn’t been clear throughout this post, I really love this restaurant. The ambiance is great for a date or celebration – but it is also casual enough that you don’t feel like you have to be dressed to the nines to go there.
The food might be pricey, but if you look at it as a special occasion – or maybe just going out for dessert for a girls night – I really believe that it is worth the cost and not totally outrageous.
Taste: A+, Really good and unique food.
Cost: B, yes it is expensive – but you also get a LOT of food. If you don’t want it to be so expensive, don’t get so much food. Go for the cheese, or the chocolate, or maybe even just the meat – although I would definitely choose the chocolate over the meat. I would choose the cheese fondue and a cocktail for dinner any night of the week – and I’m not sure it would be any more expensive than if I went to a lower end restaurant.
Would I go there again? Absolutely. I may even have gone there a few days ago for chocolate and drinks with some girlfriends. Its that good. I will say though, that I do get sick of it if I go there too much….which might have happened shortly after I went there for the first time….. But its not the kind of place that most people go often, and I think that makes it even better.