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“Fun Experience, But Food Only OK - Try the Oil, Not the Broth”
Review of The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot
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Ranked #113 of 697 Restaurants in Albany
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Washington Ave
Transit: Public Bus Stop located near main entrance.
Description: Fondue
Reviewed October 14, 2012 via mobile

My dinner at The Melting Pot was a rather fun experience, and the staff was exceptionally nice. The food was not particularly good, especially when cooked in broth, and definitely not worth the price, based on taste only. However, it might be worth going to just for the fun of cooking your own food in the fondue pots at the table. If you do, I definitely suggest the hot oil instead of a broth for your cooking.

"Companion" and I shared the spinach and artichoke fondue appetizer and the steak, chicken, lobster & shrimp combo. The appetizer was good, and we enjoyed dipping the bread and veggies.

The entree didn't look like a huge amount of food before cooking, but it turned out to be plenty for us (we're both pretty light eaters). We got one of the special broths (Burgungion, maybe?). When it came out cold to the table, the plain broth was really unappetizing, like dishwater in smell and appearance. When it was heated, with flavoring added, it wasn't much improved. When the meat/etc was cooked in it, the flavor was really insipid (after all, it only cooked in it a few minutes, not hours like real stew), and we really didn't like the combination of spices. Plus, the meat came out chewy and boiled tasting. The lobster was definitely ruined by the cooking method, as was the beef. The chicken and shrimp were okay. The potatoes came out pretty good - but took a lot longer than the recommended time.

The dipping sauces that came on the side were okay - ranging from not that good to pretty normal, with one very tasty creamy one (I think it was called Green Goddess or something).

Also, and this may have been totally unfounded, we were a bit grossed out by eating stuff that was in the same pot with raw chicken, so anytime we put chicken in, no other food could come out until the chicken was done too. The staff didn't warn us about this, so maybe it wouldn't have been a health risk, but we just didn't feel like eating a shrimp that had just had a totally raw piece of chicken plunked down next to it. This made the whole process rather more complicated and time consuming.

Anyway, when the very nice waitress came by to check on us, we told her we weren't enjoying the food. She was nice enough to say that a lot of people really didn't like the broth, and offered to swap our broth out for their hot oil. We don't usually eat fried food much, but anything seemed like an improvement, so we agreed. The oil was unflavored, and came with two different batters to fry the food in. The tempura one was pretty decent in thickness, and quite good tasting. The other batter was a bit too heavy and I liked the taste less. Dipped in tempura batter and fried in oil, everything except the lobster tasted much better, and lost the soggy boiled texture. The mushrooms stuffed with the creamy dipping sauce (Green Goddess?) then battered and fried were really good - like fair food but better. My companion doesn't usually like heavy breading, but she did like these. Not gourmet, but worth eating.

The atmosphere was very nice, and the staff attentive and polite. We appreciated their willingness to change our meal in the middle. The fried food was good enough to enjoy, and we had a good time dipping the different things in the batter. If it were an inexpensive restaurant, I'd probably go back for a laid back meal with friends where we weren't expecting gourmet food. At the price, however, I'd be unlikely to return for a full meal. I might go for a very light meal and just have the fondue appetizer, which was reasonably priced and would make a decent vegetarian lunch.

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1  Thank EatLocalinAlbany
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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59 - 63 of 83 reviews

Reviewed September 16, 2012

I've only been for dessert but it is definitely worth getting. I don't know if I'd want to eat dinner here, but the chocolate pot is and treats are tasty even though its expensive.

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Thank JTarheel31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2012

Who would have known that a fondue chain still existed! And in a mall no less! We made reservations (thank goodness because the place was packed!) and were very lucky to be seated at a table with 2 burners (for 2 of us). There seems to be an emphasis on the upsell initially which was the only thing about the trip that we did not care for. We ordered one of the multi course meals which seems to be the standard. We, of course, started with the cheese fondue - a little too much wine taste which we didn't care for - but the bread was delicious as were the cut up veggies. After a while my palate become accustomed to the alcohol flavor and I really enjoyed all of the gooey cheese! We opted to take the salad course home (knowing we would barely have room for our dinner let alone a salad - and they warn you when you order that food cannot be removed from the restaurant uncooked, so a salad is an easy choice to take home). We had 2 burners so were able to try two different broths - which was great! The meat selections were all so very fresh and delicious as were the potatoes and vegetables. I was so impressed with the quality of the food - the meats practically melted in my mouth but they were so flavorful! And of course, what can you say about dessert - warm chocolate with fresh fruits, marshmallows, pound cake, rice krispie squares ...! By the time I got to dessert I could really only eat a banana slice dipped in the chocolate - but boy was it good! This was a fun night but the best part was the customer service - the wait and management staff were terrific - so very attentive and pleasant - not a full minute went by with an empty glass or a dirty dish. Truly impressed and highly recommend - but don't eat for a few days before your visit!

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Thank berkshires106
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2012

Always a solid to good experience. Rarely a great one. Great place to share a meal and do something different. Trying the variety of food from cheeses to meats to vegetables to chocolate. I am never leave unsatisified.

Thank DerekPower
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2012

We come here a few times a year. Sometimes for a quick beverage and cheese at the bar while shopping, other times for a nice long quiet catch up dinner. The big night out is a great thing, you can modify in or out the things you don't care for and the staff is always attentive. But...that entire dinner can't be done if you're in a rush or hurry.
Food is always great, drinks excellent, but it is not by any means an inexpensive night out.
While I've seen well behaved kids there (my own included), it's hard to keep a toddler happy for 2+ hours at dinner, so my advice is to get a sitter for the very young crowd and those of us eating near you might be willing to chip in...Kidding!...
Anyway, if you love fondue and don't count pennies, it's a great place to go!

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Thank kathy m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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