For my third review, I wanted to go a step further than just the food, and move towards doing reviews on the entire restaurant. While this one may not go as far as I’d eventually like to get, it’s a move in the right direction.
I have visited the melting pot, a fondue restaurant, many times in the past. I probably eat here at least every quarter. I more recently started going to the Roswell, GA location and this will have been third time here. I have no photos of the outside of the building, but this venue and the one in Midtown are very simple looking and blend in with the other buildings surrounding them. Neither is a standalone building.
Inside, the restaurant is a maze of various sections, each divided into many booths. The booths all have one or two built in heating elements that the “melting pot” sits on to heat the fondue. The restaurant is kept fairly dark, making it a potentially romantic setting, and keeps the volume a little lower for those enjoying the conversational atmosphere that fondue brings to groups dining together.
Many of the booths are like this one below, which until the current visit was exclusively the type of booth I have always gotten. It seats four people and has a single heating element in the middle.
Today we were seated at this much smaller table. It was a table for two, and shaped with a single entry in and out of the booth.
I found the downside to this table was that the person seated near the aisle has a really far reach to the fondue pot. This caused a lot of dripping on the table as I brought my food to my plate.
While you can choose individual fondues, the standard is to order the 4-Course Experience. This gets you started with a cheese fondue, followed by a salad, then the main course, finishing off with a dessert fondue.
The first course is the cheese fondue. This time, we chose one of the “Fondue Features – Limited Time Only” offers. It was an Alp and Dell Cheese Fondue. It was described as “a smooth blend of Gruyère and Emmenthaler Swiss cheeses, white wine, chopped garlic and nutmeg infused with whole grain mustard, finished with cracked pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon and served with summer sausage and cornichons for dipping.”
The standard choices for dipping include three different items. The first is a collection of three different breads chopped into bite sized pieces. These include French, wheat, and a rosemary herb.
The second dipper is a cup of broccoli, baby carrots, and cauliflower.
Last you get a cup of sliced Granny Smith apples.
For the first time that I’ve seen, we got a fourth cup that included summer sausage and cornichons, or as many of us know them, baby gherkins.
I thought they were a wonderful change to the usual choices. The cornichons were satisfactory, but I thought the summer sausage was a great addition as a cheese dipper. Both texture and similar salty taste make the sausage a good companion with melted cheese.
This particular cheese fondue was very good. The two cheeses blended well together, and the white wine added just a hint of extra flavor.
The biggest change to the taste of this course was the mustard, which added a little kick and really stood out as a dominating flavor. It was probably in the top three cheese fondues I’ve had here.
Another new item we’ve never seen before was in the second course choices. These Lettuce Wraps were chosen by my wife.
The Lettuce Wraps contained “crisp leaf lettuce, sliced cucumber, curly carrots, bean sprouts, fresh mint, honey roasted almonds, black sesame seeds and scallions.”
The wraps were served with a mandarin orange-ginger dressing. My wife was impressed by the dressing and requested that I try some. I will agree it was very tasty.
Overall she enjoyed the wraps, but said they were nothing special except for the dressing. The dressing’s sweet, Thai-like flavor is the one thing that would make her order these again if we saw them on the menu.
I went with my usual choice, the California. This salad is “mixed baby greens, roma tomatoes, candied pecans, and Gorgonzola cheese with a raspberry black walnut vinaigrette dressing.”
Having tried every salad offered here, this is my favorite of the four standard choices. This salad comes with nothing other than some of my salad favorites. I love the contrast between sweet candied nuts and the saltiness of a Gorgonzola or feta cheese. The pecans on this salad have always been perfect. Besides being sweet, they are perfectly crunchy and are in plentiful supply here.
The dressing is fantastic. I’m a big fan of raspberry vinaigrettes. I love the general healthiness of these dressings (although probably not true at most restaurants) while still offering a real punch when it comes to flavor. This one doesn’t disappoint. On top of all that, the base of this salad, the lettuce, is always fresh and crisp. One of the better salads I’ve had at any restaurant, Too bad it’s so small.
For the main course we chose our usual cooking style, Coq Au Vin, a “burgundy wine infused with fresh herbs, spices and mushrooms.” Every main course comes with a bowl of broccoli, red potatoes, and mushrooms to be cooked along with your protein.
My wife chose the Steak Lovers option.
It is a trio of teriyaki-marinated sirloin, seasoned choice Angus sirloin, and premium filet mignon.
My choice was Land and Sea. This is the combination of premium filet mignon, herb-crusted chicken, and Pacific white shrimp.
The filet mignon is the very same as the one in my wife’s dish. One nice thing about cooking fondue style is that you can’t rate the meal based on how well it was cooked, since that is all on you.
In its raw form, the filet appears to be unseasoned. This is fine since I can cook it to my liking (medium-rare), and get the extra flavor from the following sauces provided.
My favorite of the five sauces provided are the two white ones.
The top one is called the Green Goddess. The bottom is their Gorgonzola Port Sauce. The Green Goddess is what I dip my filet into. I use the Port Sauce for my vegetables. Many diners especially enjoy the Port Sauce with their mushrooms.
The Green Goddess (both of our favorite) is a cream cheese based sauce and includes milk, sour cream, onions, parsley, and chives.
The Gorgonzola Port Sauce is a mayonnaise based sauce and includes sour cream, Gorgonzola cheese, salt, pepper, garlic, port wine, and milk.
The other three sauces below are from top to bottom; teriyaki, curry, and sweet and sour. I enjoy the teriyaki and sweet and sour, but don’t really like the taste of the curry sauce.
The shrimp is pretty standard as far as shrimp goes. After cooking, it tastes like most any other, but again, it’s the process of cooking fondue-style, and the added sauces that make the difference. I usually use the teriyaki sauce for dipping my shrimp into.
The herb-crusted chicken was excellent. After cooking, the herbs really jumped out, even after the chicken was dipped in the sweet and sour sauce.
Unfortunately the green onion on the raw chicken falls off when cooking, but the herbs are ingrained in the meat, and the flavor stays with them throughout the cooking process.
Here are a few of my meats soaking in their wine bath. We like to put the vegetables in at the beginning and let them cook until we finish our main dishes. Then we pull them out in the end after they’ve been fully cooked.
In the end, I can’t really rate individual items, as they really are basic proteins that can be eaten at any restaurant. All I can do is rate the entrée platter that I ordered. In this case that was the Land and Sea. An old favorite of mine that combines seafood, beef, and chicken without going way up in cost with the platters that have the lobster (up to a $12 difference per entrée).
For dessert we tried another “Fondue Features – Limited Time Only” item. It was Dark and Dulce Chocolate Fondue. It featured their “bittersweet dark chocolate swirled into rich and creamy dulce de leche, [then] topped with coarse ground sea salt.”
A plate of dippers comes with it of course, and you can see on the left side that we order a second plate in order to not have to share.
It came with the following items:
Cocoa dusted strawberries, Rice Krispy® Treats, graham cracker covered marshmallows and chocolate graham cracker covered marshmallows, cheesecake with a chocolate covered cherry on top, pound cake, brownie, and cocoa dusted banana.
The fondue itself was a little disappointing. As I’ve mentioned in a previous review, I’ve never been a fan of the sweet and salty desserts, but I’ve been coming around. This dessert was a great sweet and salty taste until I got a few dips with several of the large grains of salt on top. Then it became way too salty. It certainly wasn’t one of their best dessert fondues. I don’t think I’d order it again, as they have several on their regular menu that I’d rate a 7 or higher.
Overall, I love The Melting Pot. I will continue to be a regular customer. The concept is fun, the food in general is above average (this visit was the exception), and there is always enough food for me to walk away full which is a big positive. The service at the Roswell, GA location is always excellent. The servers are cheerful, helpful if you’re unfamiliar of the concept, and prompt. While the main entrées may be somewhat basic, the cheese and chocolate fondues are something I have yet to experience anywhere else. There are other fondue restaurants in the Atlanta area but I have not tried them. The experience at The Melting Pot has so far kept me from venturing elsewhere.