Restaurant Review: The Melting Pot

Will Doreza

The Melting Pot restaurant, known for its fondue-style dining, offers a unique experience that you won’t find elsewhere in Appleton. With sleek and elegant décor, friendly and competent service and creative twists on the same cooking method, the restaurant is an excellent place to impress family, friends or romantic interests.

The atmosphere of The Melting Pot exudes luxury, romance and sophistication. Dark woods, low lighting, and sparkling granite tabletops with sleek induction burners for the fondue set a mood of tranquil elegance. The room’s level of lighting, however, could cause one to feel somewhat disoriented and isolated, although the table and the visually well-prepared food on it are sufficiently lit.

The servers are welcoming and attentive, and certainly competent when explaining the somewhat complicated method of cooking fondue. Cooking the main course in a boiling pot of broth on the table can be an intimidating experience, especially when having to prepare raw food on your table — and the servers do an excellent job in both informing and instructing the customer. In addition, water glasses are kept full, and no attention to detail is overlooked.

The simplest and best way to experience what The Melting Pot has to offer is ordering the “Big Night Out” — a several-course themed dinner consisting of an appetizer fondue (usually cheese based) a salad, the main course and a dessert fondue. Two themed Big Night Out menus are offered per year and showcase different flavors from around the world. Another four-course dinner that offers your choice of standard classics on the menu was my choice, however.

The first course I ordered was the Wisconsin Trio Cheese Fondue, which is prepared tableside with a variety of cheese, white wine, scallions and sherry. The combination of flavors make a complex and interesting cheese fondue that is not what you’d expect melted cheese to taste like. The fondue is served with an assortment of breads, raw vegetables and apples.

The second course is a salad and the only non-fondue item on the menu. You can choose from a variety of salads, including a particularly good Caesar. In my most recent visit, I ordered the Latin America-themed salad, which was a shrimp ceviche with avocado purée, greens and a lime-based dressing. The well-prepared salads prove to me that the chefs’ talents are not limited to fondue.

The main course is by far the most interesting, and depending on the time of year, different combinations of meats are available with a wide variety of sauces.

We were given a plate of raw food including tuna, shrimp, sirloin, chicken and more sirloin with a teriyaki sauce. There are a few varieties of the cooking style that you can choose, and we chose the popular Coq au Vin style with chicken stock and burgundy wine.

The final course is a variety of chocolate fondue, and you can pick from classic dark, milk or white chocolate fondues, or something more elaborate such as Bananas Foster. It’s difficult to make a poor choice, so I advise you to choose a different dessert every time.

Dining with fondue is a fun experience, but also slows down the speed at which you normally eat. This can be a good thing, as it allows you to enjoy the food that has been expertly prepared. The Melting Pot’s ability to provide such a customizable menu, combined with the interesting method of cooking, creates an experience that is fun and social.

Try this restaurant for your next special date, or when your family comes to visit. It’s a restaurant concept that is best enjoyed less frequently, as it is more enjoyable when you haven’t had it in a while.

It’s also not cheap — you can expect to pay around $40 per person for the four-course meal, including tax and tip. The four-course meal option — although seemingly pricey — is the way to go, as you know what you are spending from the beginning and you are also provided with the best the menu has to offer.