For the first time in years, our family visited The Melting Pot to celebrate my Birthday a couple weeks ago. It was my choice as a venue...I wanted to go someplace festive -- and that we hadn't been for some time. I'm a big fondue fan, and the place has somewhat of a relaxed and celebratory feel to it.
We knew they offered plenty of gluten free choices, but we brought our own gluten free bread for our Celiac son to dip in the cheese fondue appetizer -- and a gluten free brownie for dipping in the chocolate dessert fondue. We had remembered that when we had been there years ago, they only had veggies and apples for gluten free folks to dip in the cheese fondue...and fruit and marshmallows for the chocolate fondue.
Well, we were pleasantly surprised to find out when we arrived that our "supplemental" food we had brought wasn't even needed. At some point since our last visit many years ago, they added gluten free bread for their GF patrons to dip into the cheese fondue -- as well as gluten free chocolate brownies and pound cake for the dessert fondue.
The Melting Pot locations are also certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group, and they are very careful about preparing your food. The items to be dipped for each course -- cheese, main course, and dessert -- are on a separate platter (in case anyone else at your table orders gluten-containing items), and you'll have your own pot for dipping (just don't allow your friends and family to dip anything with gluten in your pot!).
We opted for the signature style of dining, which includes four courses: cheese fondue, a salad, a variety of meats and seafood as the entree, and chocolate fondue for dessert.
The gluten free choices are clearly marked on the main menu. Six of the seven varieties of cheese fondue are gluten free -- even the ones like Wisconsin Cheddar that contain beer (they substitute with Redbridge gluten free beer). It was absolutely delicious. All four salads were available gluten free, and all five cooking styles for the meat and seafood main course were as well. For those of you not familiar with how the meats are cooked, you are given small pieces of raw meat, poultry, or seafood (you choose your preferences from the extensive menu). You then submerge these in the fondue pot to cook. The pots are filled with your choice of either a broth, wine, or light oil. Alternatively, you can choose to have your server put a cast iron grill over the heating element in the middle of your table, as opposed to a fondue pot. Then you can grill the meats and vegetables to your liking. We opted for the Court Bouillon seasoned vegetable broth. You are also given about 8 different sauces (all but one are GF) for dipping your cooked meats. Some examples are cocktail sauce for shrimp, green goddess sauce (good on just about anything), and a delicious curry sauce (my favorite).
While the first three courses were all spectacular, the highlight is always the dessert. Seven of the nine types of chocolate fondue were gluten free. We opted for the Pure Milk Chocolate in one of our pots and "Dark and Dulce" in the other (our table for four people had two pots). We were so full by the end of the meal. Those "little bites" of cut up bread, veggies, fruit, meats, and sweets are deceiving...you definitely get plenty to eat!
Plan on budgeting between 2 1/2 to 3 hours for your visit, unless you are speed eaters. Again, this place may not be for your average weeknight dinner, but it's a nice change from the ordinary when you're looking to have a relaxed date, a celebratory dinner, or a night out with friends to catch up.
My husband and I each opted for the wine flight, with a perfectly paired wine accompanying each of the four courses. (It is nice to have a teenage son as a designated driver!)
The only downside to our meal was that the lighting in the restaurant is somewhat dim, making it a bit hard to read the small print on the menu (OK, I'm also getting old!). It also made it hard to get any good photos during the meal, so I sort of gave up. My apologies for the one of the chocolate message above! This was the plate I was given to put my desserts on after dipping them into the chocolate fondue.
If you're looking for a fun evening out with or without kids, you can feel safe eating at the very GF-friendly Melting Pot. Best of all, they have locations all over the United States!