Printer Friendly

HOT SPOT MELTING POT TAKES THE FONDUE EXPERIENCE TO THE NEXT LEVEL.

Byline: Larry Lipson Restaurant Critic

FONDUE WAS popular in the '70s. Is it due for a comeback?

Evidently the Melting Pot chain of fondue restaurants believes so. And now there's one in Thousand Oaks. And it's busy as can be.

Can it be fun?

Of course it can.

Picture the scene: A crowded restaurant filled with animated people dipping their forks of food in a steaming hot liquid or cheese. And for dessert - a melted chocolate fondue.

All the oohs and aahs.

How about the laughs when someone loses their tidbit and starts fishing?

Add alcohol and/or wine, and it's a cook-it-yourself party.

Yeah, but you remember fondue eateries in the past and the experience was so-so. And there may even be one or two of the old-timers still around.

But here at the Melting Pot, they're doing it better, more expansively than anyone ever did before. There are more choices, better-quality food - and servers that help to make the experience worthwhile.

But it isn't cheap.

Yet, when you think about it, that's to be expected these days.

We had good melted cheese, passable salads, filet mignon, duck, shrimp, pork tenderloin, chicken, ravioli, lobster and a slew of veggies plus fresh fruit and marshmallows to dip in chocolate one night along with a couple of bottles of wine (we brought one) for a $200 tab (actually $202.70) for four without tip.

We actually ordered what the Melting Pot calls ``The Big Night Out'' for two ($86), taking the meaty option at $10 less rather than the seafood and picking the court bouillon mixture over the bourguignon, mojo and coq au vin offerings as our cooking liquid.

Which worked out well.

We boosted our meal with an order from the signature entree selection of twin lobster tails, the market price being $65.

Consequently, we shared a trio of salads and received a number of dipping sauces. The fun improves when you dip a cooked piece of meat, seafood or vegetable in a spicy, sweet or garlicky mixture.

And though we actually chose what was listed on the menu as dinner for three, we appreciated the recommendation of the waitress, who thought it would allow us enough food for four.

She was correct.

As far as faults, they were minimum. I think the little cubes of bread with the cheese fondue could be improved, maybe slightly crunchier, and one of our party opined that the melted chocolate wasn't of sufficiently intense flavor.

But all in all, an evening at the Melting Pot provides a diverse eating experience, something you may not want to do all the time but pleasurably different from the norm.

And, by the way, if you have them, it could remind you to dig into the cupboard and bring out your own fondue pots and hold a fondue party of your own in the near future.

Larry Lipson, (818) 713-3668

larry.lipson(at)dailynews.com

MELTING POT

Food: Three stars - Service: Three and one half stars - Wine: Three stars

Where: 3685 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks.

Hours: Open for dinner service only from 5 to 10 p.m. nightly, to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Recommended items: The ``Big Night Out'' fondue four-course meal, twin lobster tails entree.

How much: Variety of fondue options for one or two from $14 to $65 per person. Full bar. AE, MC, V, Discover.

Wine list: Fairly extensive wine selection on a seven-page list features 26 by the glass ($5 to $12) and around 100 bottlings ($18 to $220). Recommended red wine buy: The fruity, pleasant Beckmen's Santa Ynez Valley syrah ($22). Corkage: $12.

Reservations: Suggested. Call (805) 370-8802.

CAPTION(S):

3 photos

Photo:

(1 -- 3) A dizzying array of items are available for dipping at the Melting Pot in Thousand Oaks, where the fondues can be paired at your table with a variety of wines.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 11, 2005
Words:647
Previous Article:'FAME' TO DEBUT AT PLAYHOUSE TEEN ASPIRATIONS TAKING CENTER STAGE.
Next Article:CRIME IN VALLEY SEESAWS SERIOUS OFFENSES DROP IN PALMDALE, RISE IN LANCASTER.


Related Articles
Winter entertaining recipes.
IOWA SEEKS THE POOR, THE TIRED, THE HUDDLED MASSES.
Old, green fondue pot is back in style.
IT`S HIP TO DIP; FONDUE RETURNS TO FRONT BURNER.
DIP INTO THESE HOT TIPS FOR BETTER FONDUE FUN.
Fund-do party!
SMALL BITES FOR MOM, CALL AHEAD OF TIME.
Fondon't.
Choice cheeses.
VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT GUIDE.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters