MARCH FOOD: The Melting Pot

Fondue at The Melting PotForget the Sterno flame and Harvest Gold cook pot surrounded by swanky dinner guests with bell bottoms and bad moustaches. Fondue of the 1970s has long since evolved into one of today’s most chic comfort foods. And this is not your mother’s fondue.

With foreign dishes and wine on the home dining scene for the first time, the ‘70s ushered in a grand age of dinner parties. As hosts emulated their visits to posh restaurants, sophistication came to the masses. Velvet décor and funky fashions were as lively as the budding worldly appetites of the day, and fondue quickly became the status menu item of choice.

From the French “fondre,” to melt, fondue infused all the attributes we prize in even greater measure today—small bites, customized foods and interactive, memorable dining. Answering the growing hunger for this novel noshing, The Melting Pot opened in 1975 in Florida. As the franchise burgeoned across the nation, Oklahoma enjoyed its first foray into the surging food trend with the opening of The Melting Pot in Tulsa in 2005 and Oklahoma City in 2007.

Owner of both Oklahoma locations, Becky Chapman recalls her initial attraction to the restaurant. “It was something completely different than anything offered in Oklahoma.”

Though The Melting Pot has a distinguished air, guests certainly don’t need culinary expertise to know the pleasures of dipping one decadent food into another. The joy is almost instinctual. Who can resist molten cheese or silky chocolate bubbling in a pot?

One, two, three or four-course menu options are portioned and priced per person, offering an easy variety suited to OKC’s Bricktown vibe. Handsome wood décor, jeweled chandeliers, cozy booths and an impressive wine list deliver romance for an important evening, yet easily accommodate impromptu dinners and between-meal nibbles as well. “You can come in to celebrate with the whole four-course meal,” Chapman notes, “or just stop in on a whim for cheese fondue and salad. Chocolate, any evening, is a great stand-alone option.”

Multi-unit Manager Jenifer WendlandYou’ll love the aroma and anticipation as your chef prepares the cheese fondue at your table. Even the salads are a treat, with touches like gourmet cheese and candied nuts. Steak, chicken, seafood, pork and vegetarian entrées are cooked tableside in one of four cooking styles, served with vegetables and dipping sauces.

Plan to linger a bit as you make that all-important chocolate fondue selection. With options like crunchy peanut butter and Bananas Foster, exploring the menu is half the fun. The Flaming Turtle fondue is delicious enough to eat with a spoon, even before dunking brownies, Rice Krispies Treats and marshmallows in it. And thanks to the private booths, no one will even see you do it!

The dress code is “Oklahoma casual,” Chapman chuckles, “which can mean anything! Couples come in for their anniversary in suits and cocktail dresses. The Happy Hour crowd comes in business attire and many people stop in dressed in jeans,” Chapman remarks. Both the menu and the guests, it seems, are a melting pot, which adds to the appeal of this eclectic eatery.

Call 235-1000 for reservations or visit meltingpot.com/Oklahoma-city. Located in Bricktown at 4 E. Sheridan Ave.

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