It's Hip to Dip (The Melting Pot - Sacramento, CA)

Friday, July 14, 2006

I was practically raised on fondue, it wasn't really a special occassion in my house growing up. My mom's old electric pot was used on an almost weekly basis. We would have bubling oil ready for thick bite sized cuts of steak, waiting to be dipped in a butter tarragon sauce. In college, I received my own, and Tolblerone bars melted with heavy cream were often waiting to bathe fresh fruit and pound cake in it's svelt, alluring decadence. I wasn't spoiled. I was just lucky.

Fortunately for the masses, fondue seems to be making a comeback, and since not everyone has an old pot from 1976 sitting around, The Melting Pot has you covered. The Melting Pot is a chain fondue restaurant that's everything you would expect from a high class restaurant. Mainly cause in a way it is.

Recently Rob and I were lucky to go get out funky fondue on once again with a few friends, me giggling with anticipation the whole car ride over. Once inside, and after a short wait (we had made reservations, which you'll need to do, but expect a wait anyways at chic restaurants), we were seated in a luxurious and dark room, seductively lit. The room, lighting, and decor was situated so that it became the perfect date place, yet at the same time large groups could easily relax and converse without too much cacophony. Our table was situated with two heaters in the center so as to keep the fondue hot, ensuring that our food would never go cold. Well played, Melting Pot, well played.

The wait staff was practically perfect in every way. I hate it when there seems to be a sense of over-familiarity and horseplay, but don't want to be in the care of a soulless drone with no spunk and a hollow look in their eyes either (kind of like an ice-cream man...). Suggestions were given, and they were obviously knowledgable about the menu and wine selection. They checked in with us at all the right times, and they were overall pleasant.

Ah but the food... lets hit this course by course.

California Salad
Mixed baby salad greens, tossed with roma tomatoes, walnuts and gogonzola cheese. This was a perfect combo as the bitterness of the walnuts and the creaminess of the cheese blended perfectly for this Napa reminscent flavor. This covered with the Raspberry Black Walnut Vinaigrette? I had to ask the hostess to restrain me, I needed to save room. Trust me when I say this... making it past the cheese course can be very difficult.

Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue
The most common of fondues was not so common. Don't expect what you would taste from one of those crap-tastic box fondue kits. No this was pure well made Emmenthaler and Gruyere. Hints of lemon and nutmeg were grated into the pot in front of us, as we watched the cheese melt into one delectable swirl of layers of flavor.

Wisconsin Trio
Butterkase, Fontina and Buttermilk bleu... *sigh* I love blue cheese. I was getting all kinds of hot bothered by this. I don't think any of us even talked to each other. The cheese was so good and so complimenting to every dipping item served, we just took to silence to enjoy every single bite.

Both the cheeses were served with an assortment of breads and veggies. We were all starting to get full at this point, and with three more courses to come, we were starting to worry if we were really up to the task. Luckilly, like the eat beasts we are, we proudly marched forward.

Pacific Rim
At this point my memory begins to fade due to fullness. A bubbling broth was brought before us and situated upon one of the heaters. We watched as scallions, orange zest and juice, garlic, ginger, and I think some white wine werew all poured in.

We were served this along side a platter of teriyaki sirloin, shrimp, peppered crusted pork tenderloin, duck breasts, chicken breasts, and wontons (YUM!) were presented. Each one absorbed and mingled with the flavors of the fondue broth and created a harmony of tropic flavors. The peppercorn pork was truly phenomenal, creating a Hawaii meets rugged Kansas thing. It was a party in my mouth and it had a cowboy luau theme.

Signature Selection
We had this with bubbling oil. This was the classic I was used to. The veggies in tempura were by far the winner here, as was the steak. No wontons served with this, but fish (I honestly can't recall what kind) did. The fish, was honestly not so great with the oil, but was Nirvana with the broth.

Various dips and sauces were also presented allowing you to even further play alchemist with the possible flavors and textures. A favorite that our waiter suggested was to take the baby bella mushrooms, and stuff them with one of the cheese sauces. We then dipped it in tempura batter, and into the poil it went. Jesus tap dancing Christ, I swear I never had a better shroom in my life.

Chocolate Fondue with Irish Creme
This was better than sex. If you think that's a lie, you're wrong. Served with pound cake, brownies, bananas, strawberries, pineapple, and marshmellows rolled in either oreo cookie dust or graham cracker dust. Just... dear Jesus, Zeus, Quetzacoatl, Vishnu, and Buddha; thank all of you for allowing this to happen.

We sat in food coma for some time after that. The wine didn't help with that either. It was a desset wine. I remember liking the selection but the coma mind-wiped me. Time passed, I'm just not sure how much. I suggest you put some time aside for a meal here. Our meal was almost four hours long, but with good food and good friends, it's not a problem. It's also not cheap, but it won't break the bank if you go with friends. One Big Night Out, a four course meal meant for two, will easily feed four. We had two of them for four of us and it would be too much for an ordinary human.

Overall, one of the best meals I've had in Sacramento ever. After this, you'll be out buying your own pot for home, guaranteed.

The Melting Pot
814 15th St.
Sacramento, Ca 95814
(916) 443-2347


  1. Terrific writing. Here in St Louis we have two Melting Pots. I've been to one with some mixed results. Their Traditional Guyere mixture was outstanding with Kirschwasser added to the mix as well as white wine-it was memorable, the bourginogne less so.

  2. Yeah, they seem to be spreading like wildfire, but who can blame them? The food tastes like sunshine and unicorn giggles, and creates joy in you.

  3. i ate at a melting pot in Salt Lake City. i had my first chocolate martini there. i went with my folks and we had the swiss fondue, tho mojo pot and not one but TWO of the turtle fondues. and ate everything. and a bottle of wine.

    we were gluttonous swine and that meal is in my top five best ever dining experiences.

  4. Gluttonous is perfectly acceptable at fondue. The only reason I didn't just throw my face into the pot and breath through a straw is I'm allergic to burning pain.

  5. I think I want to add that a year since, I would say I might not go back to the Melting Pot, mainly because once you learn how to work your own fondue pot, it's really really really easy to do at home.


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