Valentine’s Day. Most girls in relationships love it. Everyone else hates it. Cat Wrangler and I? It’s an excuse to have cheese fondue at home. A much better, cheaper option than dining out in LA during one of the busiest restaurant nights of the year. Also, traffic is horrendous because everyone is trying to get to their date location. To put it in perspective, there’s traffic, LA traffic, LA holiday traffic and then LA Valentine’s Day traffic. Yeah.
With the impending birthday, my husband arranged a dinner with some friends at The Melting Pot in Torrance Saturday night. For those of you not familiar with this place, it’s a fondue restaurant. The menu at fondue restaurants is relatively simple, at least for the two places I have been to. There’s a 4-course meal option which consists of:
- choice of cheese fondue
- choice of main entrée
- choice of chocolate dessert
The menu also allows for a la carte ordering so if all you want is cheese fondue or chocolate fondue, you can do that.
Since it was a special occasion, Hubby n’ I decided to splurge and went with the “Big Night Out” which was The Melting Pot’s four course option.
For the cheese fondue, we went for the quattro formagio which was a delicious mixture of Fontina, Grùyere and Gran Queso cheeses with roasted garlic, basil and tomato pesto and mozzarella Perlini. As one friend put it, it was cheese fondue with the “essence of Olive Garden”. This was seriously delicious and rich with garlic and pesto flavors. It went best with the variety of breads and vegetables but not so much with the Granny Smith Apples.
Since the mister doesn’t eat salads, I got to sample 2 different ones on the menu. There was a caprese which was average. A little more fresh basil would have been nice. The California salad was mixed greens with Roma tomatoes, walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese and a delicious raspberry walnut vinaigrette dressing.
There were 3 different choices for the main entrée. We opted for the 2nd one which was titled “Fondue Fusion”; it consisted of lobster tail, filet mignon, limoncello balsamic sirloin, shrimp, sun-dried tomato chicken, orange fennel pork tenderloin, fresh vegetables (potato wedges, broccoli and mushroom caps) and little pasta purses stuffed with porcini and portabello mushrooms. As for the broth to cook in, there were 4 choices and we opted for the Coq au Vin – burgandy wine with herbs, mushrooms, garlic and spices.
The way this works is you skewer the meat and stick it into the broth and let it cook for several minutes. Then you eat it with a variety of sauces. There was a teriyaki sauce, a ginger-plum sauce, a yummy curry-yogurt, something called the “Greek Goddess” which was my favorite (greek yogurt with a mixture of seasoning and scallions), especially with mushrooms, a spicy cocktail sauce and something that was Thousand Island-y.
This is a great way to cook meat as it was quick and left the pieces juicy and tender. I loved the filet mignon and pasta pockets the most.
For dessert, we opted for just the plain dark chocolate fondue. There are quite a few other choices including peanut butter-chocolate mixtures, banana fosters and s’mores. For dippers, we had rice krispie treats, strawberries, marshmallows, bananas, cheesecake, pound cake and brownies. As you can see, some people didn’t wait to dive in till after I got a picture (myself included).
As for drinks, The Melting Pot has a variety of wine to choose from as well as a bar and specialty drinks. I had their Passion Bellini which was a mixture of Prosecco and fruit juices. Absolutely yummy. Dan had a Yin & Yang martini with dessert.
We had 2 fabulous servers, one of whom was sarcastically funny. The wait, however, was a bit long. We had a reservation but didn’t get seated till an hour later due to large parties not getting up. There was a bar area so we chilled in there for some of the time.
The Mister opted to buy the “birthday” package which involved having balloons on the table, held down with a box of chocolate fondue and having the party’s picture taken and framed.
Overall, this was a delicious meal but it is expensive. The “Big Night Out” option we went with was $94/couple. Tack on drinks and yeah…you’ve got yourself a nice triple digit bill. But if you’re looking for a place to have dinner at for a special occasion or want to impress your date, this is a great option.
I give the Melting Pot 4 NOMs.
The Melting Pot
21525 Hawthorne Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90503