24 May 2007

Review on The Melting Pot

Note: The following is a repost of my old blog. It was written in 2005, and I move it here now because, while talking to a co-worker about this place, I let him read the review and he was so impressed he told the owner about it. She wants to read it.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Last night my girlfriend, Sammy, and I were treated to a dinner at a nice little place downtown by our realtor: congratulations for the purchase of our new house.

She asked me what I would like, and I said, "Anything with baklava, or I heard about this place downtown called The Melting Pot."

So we went to The Melting Pot.

My first impression as I walked up was that it was very charming. Built in the old Boise fire station, the owner, Helen - a delightful Jewish woman with overactive ADHD - has truly turned it into a masterpiece. The colors are warm and comfortable, the seating also comfortable, and the wait staff friendly and prompt, if not a little frazzled because of the large group of people in the banquet room on the left - which Helen let us know was a benefit for two children being adopted by the parents of one of the servers.

The wait was not too long, long enough to have time to visit, and water was quickly brought to the table. The adorable waitress, Brianna, was pleasant and helpful, and accommodating regarding suggestions (and bringing me extra dessert).

First I want to mention the menu. This is something I’m not used to, as I don't eat in really nice restaurants other than Johnny Carino's very often, but the menu had 3 pages of the food selection, and 9 pages of wine. Not being a drinker myself, maybe I don't get this part. I just thought it was a lot.

We ordered the ‘Big Night Out - Decadence style’: a four course meal beginning with a choice of four cheese fondue’s - of which I chose Swiss - three types of breads, and mixed vegetables. The Swiss fondue had a little too much garlic in it for my taste, but that was more the choosing of my Realtor, Deanna, than it was our doting waitress, but all in all was excellent: a white wine base, Swiss cheese, raspberry ... something-wasser.

The salad was next, for which I chose the house salad. The greens were green, no wilted lettuce, and no big chunks of white empty lettuce, which was good, because I really don't like that bitter taste. The dressing was a sweet and tangy house dressing that was absolutely wonderful, putting to shame any plain ol' ranch or Caesar.

The entree came about a half hour later, which was perfect timing for letting the salad settle, consisting of a vegetable broth mixed with red wine, brought to a boil, and then we dip into it to cook: lobster, shrimp, steak, chicken, and portabella mushrooms. Brianna brought us about 10 different dipping sauces, and the medley of flavors were so differing, from a mild and tasty cayenne sauce with a yogurt base, to a cream cheese / sour cream / chive and cilantro sauce that was also smooth, creamy, and not too harsh. The barbeque sauce was good, ... what am I saying? all the sauces were wonderful, complemented the food beautifully, and made my tummy very happy.

That, in it self, would be enough. Three courses of mystery and wonder, as I have never had fondue before, put me in a level of ecstasy that I never dreamed possible. I am a food lover. I love natural flavors, not coating them in salt and pepper, but the real flavors of foods. The sauces, the cooking solution, the cheese, added to the flavors, and only the slightly more than my taste garlic in the cheese was overpowering.

But who can eat in a great restaurant without trying the dessert?

And oh, what a dessert. They have many choices for the dessert fondue, and all were tempting, but in the end, we went with "The Flaming Turtle": milk chocolate and caramel, flambéed on the table.

Seeing blue flames jump out of your chocolate is pretty cool, I must admit.

The dipping items were varied and beautiful. Brownies, pound cake, bananas, pineapple, marshmallows coated in grahams and Oreos, and a slice of cheesecake in the middle with a chocolate covered Maraschino cherry.

I went straight for the Oreo covered marshmallow.

Now, I've had chocolate covered things before. I once made candies out of Rollo and edible play dough. My mom makes chocolate covered things for Christmas almost every year. But when I lifted that chocolate-caramel marshmallow to my mouth and popped it in, I swear I saw angels in heaven.

Remember when I said I had reached a level of ecstasy that I never dreamed possible? Yeah. I just exceeded that.

The bill was higher than I’m used to, but like I said, my idea of fancy is Johnny Carinos.

Come with a full wallet and expect to eat for three and a half hours some of the most wonderful flavors you'll ever experience.

Or, if I go back, I’m going just for the dessert.

The Melting Pot is in the Old Boise firehouse on 6th and Idaho in Boise, Idaho. Call (208)383-0900 to make reservations.


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