For years people have been telling me to go to The Melting Pot and for years I’ve been meaning to. So, yesterday when I was driving home from an open house in Paradise Valley and passed the restaurant I thought I should surprise my husband and make a reservation. The three of us were starving by the time we got there four hours later. When first entering I was hit by the smell of the restaurant. All those pots of melted cheese, chocolate, and broth? You would think it was a good smell but it wasn’t. It smelled like an old overused kitchen and immediately nearly killed my appetite.
But, I still had really high hopes and when hearing a man leaving the restaurant say “that was amazing” I was definitely looking forward to the dinner. Besides, what’s not to love about dipping food? A lot, apparently.
It was our servers 2nd day on the job so he really wasn’t able to answer any of our questions. “Do you guys have milk?” “I don’t think so.” (turned out they did and he brought to us without needing to ask). He was super sweet and trying really hard, but I think it would have been nice to have a more experienced server try to explain things to us – or at least there to answer our questions. But hey, I’ve been a server and like anyone new on any job, we were giving him a break and just doing the best we could in understanding how this worked.
I was initially concerned that Jackson wouldn’t eat anything because the kids options were extremely limited, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. We went with the four course meal so that we could really experience everything. I ordered a basic mojito and Larry ordered a southern drink (I forget the name now). When my drink got there my hopes began to diminish. First, it came in an orange juice size glass and the drink was watered down and just terrible. A Mojito is supposed to have sparkling water and some sugar in it. The sparkling water was flat and I’m pretty sure it had no sugar and hadn’t been muddled, so there really wasn’t much of a mint taste. You can tell a lot about a restaurant by the ability to make drinks. A restaurant that keeps it’s bar fully stocked with fresh ingredients and proper training is a good sign that that quality will go through the entire restaurant.
Still, I had hopes. And then the first course arrived. I wasn’t a fan of the cheese, which can be a problem when the entire first course involves dipping food in cheese. I can’t figure out what went wrong here. I love cheese. I love melted cheese. If I could have cheese for breakfast, lunch, and dinner I would. (and sometimes I do) Bread and melted cheese? Even better. I’ve had the cheese we had before, too. So It’s not like we ordered a cheese I don’t normally eat. But the food was so bland I might as well have had airplane food. I tried a few items and acted like I liked it – after all, Jackson was eating it all up and loving every minute. Maybe that’s it, I needed the taste buds of a 7 year old.
Then our salads came and that tasted pretty good. At least their salad was fresh. And about 20 minutes later the main course arrived. Ok – so I ordered the steaks (3 different types of steak) and Larry ordered the Cajun combination. Jackson ordered the teriyaki steak. When the meat arrived raw I wanted to cry. First, why did we wait 20 minutes for raw steak? Second, I wasn’t really thrilled about putting raw meat in a boiling pot of broth. We were cooking our own food? No thanks. (Jackson, of course, couldn’t be happier) So I went through and put the steaks in and vegetables, which – never really cooked enough no matter how long it sat in there for. Now, I can see why they bring all the sauces for the meat – to cover up the lack of taste. It’s like seeing a bottle of A1 at a steak restaurant. Can we say red flag?
I had a filet mignon, sirloin, and teriyaki steak. I’m pretty sure the filet mignon was not really filet mignon because it was NOT tender. The sirloin, which is normally one of my favorite cuts of steak was awful and the teriyaki steak was the most edible from all three. I could barely touch the food. I had maybe two bites of each and was done. It was truly the worst steak I’ve ever had in my life – and I’ve had steak at Denny’s and on an airplane. Did I mention an airplane before? This was really reminding me of being on one.
It was finally time for our last course – dessert. Finally, I was looking forward to the meal again. Melted dark chocolate and dessert to dip? There’s no way this could go wrong, right?
Ok, the berries. We didn’t get strawberries like the menu said, but it is out of season – so there’s that – but perhaps let us know? or ya know, put ‘seasonal berries’ on the menu? After all, chocolate dipped strawberries is one of my favorite things in the world. Oh well, the blackberries and raspberries were good in chocolate. But everything else? I didn’t finish the dessert. This.has.never.happened. I’ve never met a dessert I didn’t like. I guess there’s a first time for everything. Once again, Jackson was in heaven.
I’m pretty sure we walked away with Jackson about 5 pounds heavier than normal and just through the roof happy. Which, really, made it all worth it. Except the part when he asked when we would be back again. Oy! $130 later and I would’ve rather have eaten at Taco Bell – which I haven’t wanted to eat since my college – not sober – days.
Sounds like an awful night, doesn’t it? We actually had a blast. We laughed so hard through the whole thing that my stomach hurt from laughing (or lack of edible food?) and I kept wiping tears away. Obviously, there are people who are huge fan of The Melting Pot. And to be fair, I’m really starting to think that I just don’t like fondue in general. The service was good and like I said, I get being new, so I’m in no way blaming our server for anything. He handled everything with grace and was actually a great server, just lacked knowledge which is to be expected. But, I’ll never be back again – unless it’s to take Jackson there.
After a very very long week at work it was nice to be out with the family and try something new, so at least there’s that.