Saturday, October 25, 2008

Melting Pot in Crossgates (Guilderland)

About a week ago we went to the new Melting Pot at Crossgates in Guilderland. It was an experience worth trying. The Melting Pot is a fondue franchise. In other words, it's a chain restaurant. Like the Cheesecake Factory at Colonie Center, it's aiming for the high end of that arena. This is a good place for a warning. We spent over $100 on dinner for two and we didn't even have wine or drinks.

With that budget-busting issue in mind, it was worth going. We arrived for an early dinner (on the way to a movie) and, as seems common with new places, it was full. Fortunately we were able to get two seats at the bar with a "burner". We got a set of courses that come as a package deal. It starts with a cheese dip. You get breads, veggies and a few other things to dip in the melted cheese. The server mixes up the cheese and stuff and heats it up there then it stays warm on the burner. We liked this part of the meal very much.

Next came a salad. Not bad but nothing special. If salad is a key element of your meal, then this is not the place for you.

The entree course really stood out. It's a little like Japanese nabe or shabu-shabu style cooking. There's a big pot of broth that's hot on the burner. You get raw meats and a few other things on a plate. Put the meats on the tip of a long fork and put that end into the broth. Let it cook for about 90 seconds. Take it out and dip it into any of about 8 dipping sauces provided. Our meal had a wide variety of meats including a well-marinated pork, shrimp, filet mignon, another steak I think, chicken, and salmon. There were also some spinach dumplings (which were almost impossible to get back out of the pot). The servers were very helpful in explaining which dipping sauces were best paired with which meats. They were well-trained and helpful.

The meal closed with the chocolate. This has a similar plan. You get a variety of fruits, cakes, and a couple other items to dip. I remember we liked it very much.

So the fondue style parts of the meal were all impressive. If you can afford to blow $100 on a meal for two, then you should give it a try. I can't see ourselves going there for dinner more than maybe once a year. Another option is to go for dessert only. That would cost a lot less and give you a good feel for the experience part of it.

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