Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fondue Fusion for Valentine's Day

Congratulations to deanna for winning the $25 Sushi Rock gift card and Kristin for snagging the $25 Wonder Bar gift card from my Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week post. Email me (can be found in my blog profile), message me on Twitter at @BiteBuff, or leave a comment below with your email address. You have until Tuesday to claim your prize, or I'll pick another winner. I selected the winners using Thank you to everyone that entered!

Okay, so normally I would never write about a chain restaurant...but "R" and I had such a wonderful (delayed) Valentine's Day celebration at The Melting Pot in Rocky River that I just had to share it with you. I won a $25 "dip" certificate from them on Twitter in December, and "R" shocked me when he said that he had never actually had fondue. So I knew a trip was in our near future, and when we were looking for something "special" to do for Valentine's Day- I thought this might be just what we needed. Since we dine out so often, it can be difficult to make it "special". Usually, this means selecting a higher-end restaurant with a romantic setting, but this time it meant doing something fun, interactive, and unique.

When we arrived, we were immediately whisked away to their "best room" called the Red Room. This space offered private dining for two, separated from the main dining room and certainly more romantic. We were tucked away in our little booth, and started to look at the menu. Eric, the General Manager, then showed up to walk us through the menu and highly suggested doing the "Big Night Out" menu option. BNO offers four courses: a cheese fondue, salad, entree fondue with the choice of four cooking styles, and a dessert fondue. The BNO offered specialty items not featured on the main menu, but you could easily swap out items if you preferred. We opted for the BNO so that we could fully experience the restaurant's menu.We started with the Fondue à la France- a rich, smooth combination of baby brie, fontina, gruyère and raclette cheeses accented with nueske’s bacon, onions, white-truffle cream and fresh chives.They had us at brie and bacon. With it came three different types of bread, raw vegetables, and granny smith apples. While I enjoyed all of the courses, this may have been my favorite. But,'s things smothered in hot, gooey cheese.

Then came the salad course, and we were each able to select a different salad (which was good because we were arguing over what to order when we thought we only had one selection for the both of us). I went with the Cesar and "R" had the California Salad with mixed-baby-salad greens, roma tomatoes, walnuts and gorgonzola cheese with raspberry black walnut vinaigrette. We were each happy with our salad course. I really loved the Parmesan-encrusted pine nuts in mine.

Next up was the main course, the entree fondue. We selected the Fondue Fusion with a cold-water lobster tail, filet mignon, peppercorn-crusted NY strip, chicken provençal, roasted-garlic shrimp, maple leaf farms duck a l’orange, ratatouille and goat cheese ravioli and fresh vegetables. So basically, a little bit of everything. For our cooking style, we went with the Mojo: Caribbean-seasoned bouillon with a distinctive fresh-garlic flavor and a citrus flair.
Once it arrived, we had a blast dipping and cooking our bites. I loved the seasoning in the bouillon. "R" said that this was the only meal that could ever slow down his typically inhale-style eating, so for that I was grateful.

After we finished, our fabulous server "British Chris" (who really was British and had the best accent I've heard in a long time. It helped that he was very cute too. Shhh, don't tell "R".) presented us with the dessert menu. We chose the Flaming Turtle with milk chocolate, caramel and chopped pecans flambéed tableside.It was served with fresh strawberries, bananas (we opted for more strawberries instead, since "R" hates bananas), cheesecake, Rice Krispies Treats, marshmallows, pound cake and brownies to dip into the rich chocolate fondue. The only dipper that we didn't care for were the marshmellows. We were happily dipping away when a surprise arrived at our table. We had not ordered the Big Night Out White Chocolate Crème Brûlée- a fondue version of the classic French dessert, including white chocolate and caramelized sugar, because I tend to shy away from white chocolate. But the manager, Eric, insisted that we try it so he personally delivered a small portion of it to our table for us. I was proven wrong. He instructed me to throw out any previous concept of white chocolate, and he was right. "R" started eating it with a spoon after the dippers were gone. I kid you not.

Lastly, the evening ended with the hostess coming and taking a picture of us at the table, printing it out, and framing it for us since they knew we were celebrating a special occasion. At first I was a little thrown by this, but when the picture arrived it was actually a great shot of us and it now hangs on our refrigerator as a reminder of our fun evening out.

Overall, the service was phenomenal- attentive without being intrusive. The pace of our meal was perfect, and we were happy with the cozy, intimate atmosphere since we were celebrating. I walked out of there pleasantly surprised at how well our evening had gone, and I think "R" is now an official fan of fondue!

The Melting Pot
3111 Westgate
Westgate Mall
Fairview Park/Rocky River, OH 44126
(440) 356-8900


kristin said...


Thanks for the gift card!!!

Zurcaled said...

wow i like the food =) nice blog =) please also try to visit


Heather said...

Man, you sure got the star treatment. Can you hook a girl up?? :)

Bite Buff said...

They were seriously wonderful to us that evening! It made it really special.

Kristin- congrats again on the gift card. Enjoy Wonder Bar!