My daughter was home for Thanksgiving from U.C.San Diego and she said she would like to go to The Melting Pot fondue restaurant in Torrance, CA. I guess some students go to the one in La Jolla in the afternoon when there is some sort of half price offering. I should note that these are franchises and the loyalty card you will be offered at the end of your meal only include two locations- and La Jolla is not one of them. My older daughter said she would like to join us.
The restaurant itself is promoted as "romantic" and I suppose that must account in some measure for the price. It is very dark and low key- not a bad thing, just not necessarily for a father and two-daughter outing.
The menu itself is a bit hard to understand but between the waiter and my daughter I got the gist of how to order. There is a four course "classic" menu for two at $82 a couple. Another "Big Night Out" features three combinations of four courses for $86, $92, and $98. You can find the menu and pricing online.
My daughter said the "a la carte" menu is the way to go, so we did. We got one of the varieties of cheese fondue (priced for 1-2 people at $18, $9 each additional person) for three, three salads (limited choice) at $7 each, and chocolate fondue for dessert (1-2 people at $18, $9 each additional person). So just to get the financial part out of the way, with 20% tip that comes to $89 and change.
My first advice is that unless you REALLY like fondue, save this place for a special romantic event in your life...perhaps a gift certificate for newlyweds, etc.
Secondly, I have eaten my share of good food in my life, both here and abroad. I am in the wine business and from time to time we are treated to meals that run in the hundreds (per person). With 40+ years in the food and wine business (including back of the house in restaurants) I feel compelled to say that the food is not particularly good. Not bad, just not too good nor enough food for the price.
The fondue we chose (traditional Gruyere and Emmentaler), was prepared tableside and was just ordinary. I felt the waiter put in too much nutmeg and I am not sure he wasn't using Kirsch instead of Kirschwasser. There is a big difference. For the three of us we were given about a dozen small slices of apple, about the same amount of vegetables (about the size of your little finger down to the first joint), and maybe two dozen one inch cubes of different breads for dipping.
The salad was about half the size of what I am used to for the price with an almost undistinguishable Caesar dressing. I also felt that the honey or sugar glazed pine nuts were an oddity in a Caesar salad. Interesting, but slightly out of place I felt.
So who pays for dessert the same price as their entrée? Yet it remains the most interesting course of the three. "Cookies and Cream" chocolate fondue served with about two dozen marshmallows, strawberry slices, cheesecake squares and several other sweets. The sweets were long gone before the fondue and at the gentle eye-fluttering of my older daughter, the waiter brought out some additional sliced strawberry pieces. I came home and had a little snack to fill myself up. The service was fine.
If you enjoy fondue you know that your choices are limited, although the most difficult of preparing any fondue at home is having the correct cookware and tableware. Cleaning up runs a close second in my book.
My opinion is that the restaurant is expensive for what you get UNLESS it is for a romantic occasion and the ambiance (or company) outshines the food. Otherwise I suggest you find another local restaurant, have what you enjoy, and come here for dessert. I don't think you will be disappointed in the dessert and you will cap the evening with the same ambiance.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.