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“First timers at Der Fondue 1/17/2013”
Review of Der Fondue Chessel

Der Fondue Chessel
Ranked #18 of 37 Restaurants in Keystone
Price range: $40 - $50
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Families with children, Large groups
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Highway 6
Reviewed January 18, 2013

Let me start by saying that I almost canceled our reservation a dozen times prior to our arrival to Keystone based on the negative (recent) reviews on trip advisor. I'm glad we didn't because our experience was wonderful and I am certain it left a very positive memorable impression with our family.

Our reservation was for 6:30p, we arrived to check in at the base at 5:30ish prior to boarding the gondola, we each were given a fleece blanket for the 2 gondola rides (which helped immensely), I would recommend warm clothing, boots, hats, scarfs, gloves, etc. for the ride. Our family of 5 arrived about 20 min prior to reservation time, we were greeted with a coat check. The hostess said they were not ready for us and there was only 1 table in the huge lodge seated (I thought, here we go), the hostess pointed us to wait near the bar or the fireplace, and within 10 min they set up our table and we were seated.

We found the wait staff to be excellent, very attentive and the service we received was comparable to any fine dining experience, nothing like what I read on negative TA reviews. The manager stopped by a number of times checking to make sure our experience was good. This was our first venture into a combo of Fondue and Raclette (grill your own). We knew going into it based on reviews and some simple math that this was going to be expensive (thus the review of 4 not 5). The meal starts with 2 cheeses for fondue, you can upgrade the cheeses to add different flavors, we upgraded 1 at $3 to add bacon, scallion (we liked it). The with the fondue there were 2 plates with apples, pears, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpernickel and regular bread, and I 'm probably missing a couple more. As the fondue was warming up our waitress made a tableside Caesar salad that was very good. All meals come with a choice of 2 meats, chicken and pork are included in the set price, you can either substitute other proteins, like steak, shrimp, scallop, elk, bison, lobster or add to the 2 meats included. They offer a price to sub or a price to add. From the reviews I was nervous that we would not have enough, we added (not sub'd) 2, bison $10 and shrimp @$7. The shrimp were small, the bison was excellent. For the grilling they give you all kinds of sauces, to cook with like teriyaki, mango salsa, etc, and there is plenty of sourdough bread with herb garlic butter (which we used to grill with too). The dessert was awesome, there were 4 chocolates to choose from, 2 come standard and 2 are up charges, you get to pick 2. Milk and Dark Chocolate were standard, we upgraded 1 to the chocolate turtle ($9), tableside they get it flaming so you can toast marshmallows on the flame and make smores. With desert there were bananas (awesome, rolled in brown sugar), strawberries, rice krispy treats, graham crackers, pound cake, banana nut cake (I'm sure I missed a couple others). By the way, we could not eat every thing served, not even the deserts, we are not bird type eaters and after a full day on the slopes were very hungry, and we brought home quite a few leftovers.

Now to the pricing. Adults set meal prices were $59per person, we had 4 adults (children 12 and over are considered adult), and we had 1 child at $24.50. I think kids 5 and under are free by the way. Drinks, soda, ice tea was $3, I had a couple premium vodka (Kettle One)on the rocks ($8), good pours and they had Gibson onions for garnish (my fav). You get hit with a Keystone Surcharge and USFS fee (no idea), ours was $28 (about 8.5% and tax 6.25%). With our upgrades and drinks before tip we were at $331.50, all in with service charge and tip $440. Not for the faint of wallet, (it almost felt like a value after our lunch at the keystone food court for $130 consisting of chicken fingers, fish tacos, a couple burgers, and cold fries)

The atmosphere was very much as advertised, Bavarian beer house feel, there was live music that was great, a duo, with a guitar and accordion. They were fun, even had my wife and I up dancing for a song, not sure who was more mortified, us, or our kids. Our kids (8, 13, 15) though it was to coolest meal they ever experienced. On the way down the mountain they gave us heated fleece blankets, even the gondola operators asked how our meal was and wanted to make sure we had a great time. Not sure it would be my go to meal every time in Keystone, but I would definitely do it again, especially if in the mood to splurge. Also not sure if the manager reads these posts and was able to get his team on track from other bad review, they all did a great job, lastly, the restaurant was about half full, again its a big place and we saw all of the wait staff hustling to take care of the clientele. Hope this helps

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2  Thank Carl F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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94 - 98 of 139 reviews

Reviewed January 10, 2013

I would like to update/clarify my previous review from about 2 weeks ago re: Der Fondue Chessel in Keystone. I was impressed that the manager was concerned enough to message me and talk with me about my experience there. It appears he did significant research into my complaints after reading my review, and he addressed most of them in a phone call that I agreed to. Long story short, our issues were: got there 1/2 hour before reservation (arr. at 7 for a 7:30 res.) Other parties arriving after us were seated before us, told it would be a few more minutes, but we weren't seated until about 7:45 - 7:50. (Restaurant is a very large "beer hall" room with picnic table style seating. It was about 1/4 full, but the manager did explain how it looks deceiving when you see a large room and empty tables, but reality is there may not be scheduled waitstaff for that evening.) Overheard 2 servers at bar loudly discuss/argue about a customer tab. Waiter took (bar) drink order but never returned with the drink. Food was not good - not quality I would expect at this price. Chicken had odd taste and sirloin was chewy, and portions were small. Dessert items were basic - not great. Daughter saw person she thought was employee pull chairs together and take a nap toward back of room (To be fair, I saw feet but couldn't positively ID as employee. However, Manager looked at security tapes from that evening but did not see this incident). Staff seemed to be cleaning up as if ready to close for the night while we were still eating - kind of uncomfortable. I previously stated that when my husband spoke to the manager (who was very apologetic) we were issued a $50 credit. I misspoke - on further review, I realized that we were actually credited back the entire amount, then re-charged an amt. about $77 less - about the price of one meal. (I will lay blame with my husband on that mistake - he didn't look closely at the receipt and told me it was around $50.) All in all, about 2 1/2 hours there and initially over $300 for 4 people, with only 1 drinking alcohol).

My opinion? The atmosphere is fun, the 2 gondola rides to get there are neat, and the staff is friendly enough. The management seems concerned and is apparently working on service issues. (It appears we were not the only ones with a disappointing experience). However, I think that the food needs to be of a much higher quality to match the price, and the poor service needs to be addressed. I think they are taking a step in the right direction by being concerned - I hope they are able to fix these problems so customers won't leave there disappointed.

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Thank EPtraveler64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

I've been here many times in the past and totally enjoyed the experience, but the food wasn't worth it this time and unless it changes won't go back. Same great gondola ride at night and German band, but that was it. We spent over 500.00 for a family of 8. We didn't have drinks either on that tab. The fondue cheeses were good, but they didn't provide us with enough food items to dip in it. We asked for more bread, and received it about the same time as the next course. Not enough meat with the entry's and the bison that we ordered and had to pay much extra for was tough and chewy. What happened to this place? So sad to see this go from our usual routine.

Thank Zinserzoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2013

I am wondering for those saying the food was excellent if we ate at the same place. Sure the gondola ride there and the atmosphere in the restaurant is an experience. But the portions were small, the quality of food horrible and the waiter seemed to rush us through every course not allowing us to enjoy the experience. We left there still hungry after spending a fortune. Also, when I think of fondue, I think of the pots that you cook things in not a grill. Very disappointed and a waste of money. I think we should have done the sleigh ride dinner instead.

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Thank snowseeker760
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2013

had to get up and get after the staff after waiting about 15 minutes for the first cocktail. after that the service was only acceptable, not fantastic. love the room and the atmosphere is wonderful. gondo rides to the top are super fun at night. definitely a waste of time and money for any kids under 21. super expensive once you "upgrade" your selections from chicken and beef to say, shrimp and elk ($22 upcharge per person). We drank moderately and our bill came to just over $150 per person. Seems a bit steep to me in retropspect, but you are paying some of it for the privilege of riding up the gondo in the night.

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1  Thank pickyforsure
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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