The Melting Pot

May 2015 Trip Review

Are you “fond” of fondue? ;)

 

I forgot to mention in my previous review of our day at Universal that both of the parks closed early (at 6:00) the day that we visited. Initially we were planning to dine at one of the Universal City Walk restaurants that night. Among our group there were votes for the Hard Rock Cafe, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, and Bubba Gump’s…none of which I was super excited about. Although we’ve had decent meals at all three of these chain restaurants, I was looking for something different. So to aid my search for a better alternative to present to the kids, I went to Trip Advisor. Since we had a car and a very willing and capable driver, we were not restricted to dining at one of the City Walk restaurants or even in the Universal parks area. So here is what I found when doing a restaurant search for Orlando (the results are listed in order of ratings).

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I wasn’t at all surprised that Victoria & Albert’s was #1, not only for Disney World but for the whole Orlando area. Although I would love to visit V & A’s one day, it was definitely not in the budget for this trip. The opposite was true for the #2 Hot Krust Panini Kitchen, which appears to be an inexpensive deli-style restaurant. While I’m sure it is quite good, I was looking for a little nicer restaurant, something in the $$ or $$$ price range. Therefore, the #3 restaurant with $$$$ did not fit the bill.

And so I moved on down the list…

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NYPD Pizza sounded okay, however we already planned to have dinner at an Italian restaurant (Trattoria al Forno) the next evening so I decided against this one. So then came #5 The Melting Pot…DING! DING! DING! I do believe we have a winner! :thumbsup2

Now I realize that this too is a chain restaurant, with more than 100 locations in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, however it was once a family favorite. We had had some special family dinners at the Oakbrook Terrace, IL location before it closed 6 or 7 years ago. Our family had also enjoyed a fondue dinner at The Melting Pot while on vacation in Savannah, GA back in 2010. But it had been 5 long years since we had been to a Melting Pot so I was pretty confident that the kids would jump at the chance to eat at this restaurant…and I was right. :thumbsup2

Since this was a Friday evening, I thought it would be wise to make a reservation and did so on Open Table for 8:00. The restaurant was only about 3 miles from the Hard Rock Hotel, so about a 10 minute drive since we didn’t run into any traffic jams. Here is a map which shows the restaurant’s location in relation to Disney property…

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From the Downtown Disney area (aka Disney Springs) for instance, The Melting Pot is about 7 miles or about a 15 – 20 minute drive. So although it is not terribly far from Disney World (if you have a car), with so many great restaurants right there on property I can’t say that The Melting Pot would be worth the 15 – 20 minute drive. But if you are staying at Universal or driving between Universal and Disney (this restaurant is not far off the path between the two), then I would definitely recommend having dinner at The Melting Pot. :thumbsup2

Ok, here is why I would recommend The Melting Pot, starting with their fairly extensive Specialty cocktail menu…

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Emily went with the Asian Pear, which combined Absolut Pears Vodka, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, simple syrup, and a splash of sparkling wine…

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She gave her cocktail a rating of 4 or Good.

I think that Emily and I had eaten more appetizers than the other two so we decided to share a 2-serving fondue pot of cheese instead of an entree. Here is the menu showing the cheese options which were available to us…

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We chose the first one on the list and our pot of cheese was prepared by our server at our table…

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And here is the finished product…

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Aged, medium-sharp Cheddar and Emmentaler Swiss cheeses, lager beer, garlic, and seasonings

This was served with bread, apples, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots for dipping…

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We also shared this with Allison and Andrew, and in turn they shared their 2-serving pot of cheese with us…

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Their choice was the Wisconsin Trio with Fontina, Butterkase, and Gorgonzola Cheeses along with white wine, scallions, and a hint of sherry.

Two of us rated the Cheddar-Beer cheese a 4 and the other two a 5, for an average rating of 4.5. As for the Wisconsin Trio, it averaged a 4 with two giving it a 4 and the other two a 3 (which was fairly high considering that person hates blue cheese ;)) and a 5 (I love blue cheese :thumbsup2).

I saw that they still had the California Salad on their menu…

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…and couldn’t resist ordering it again.

 

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California Salad with mixed baby salad greens, roma tomatoes, candied pecans, gorgonzola cheese and raspberry-black walnut vinagrette

This was good, just as I had remembered it being.

Then Allison and Andrew each ordered an entree and shared them. These were chosen from this section of the menu…

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They picked the Teriyaki-Marinated Sirloin and the Memphis-style BBQ Pork Medallions…

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They cooked these meats themselves at our table in a seasoned vegetable broth (called Seasoned Court Bouillon), which is The Melting Pot’s complimentary cooking style…

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There were three other cooking style choices, but they were all an extra charge of $3.95 – $5.95.

Six different sauces were served with their meat selections…

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Now for their ratings, starting with the Memphis-style BBQ Pork Medallions…

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Though this looked delicious, they both agreed that after cooking the pork they were disappointed with its lack of flavor. Consequently, they both rated the pork as just okay or a 3.

The Teriyaki-Marinated Sirloin fared better with them…

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They both thought the steak was good and rated it a 4.

After having cheese and meats, Andrew and Allison said they were too full but Emily and I were up for dessert…

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We chose their signature chocolate fondue, called The Original, which was a combination of milk chocolate and crunchy peanut butter…

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Like the cheeses, this was prepared for us at our table by our server. This plate of dippers was served along with our pot of chocolate…

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In addition to the fruit (strawberries, pineapple, and bananas), there were also marshmallows,brownies and blondies, pound cake, and rice krispie treats…

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My favorite combination?? :scratchin Well, what could be better than a chocolate-covered strawberry…

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Andrew and Allison’s resolve quickly “melted” when they saw our pot of chocolatey goodness, so they ended up helping us clean both our plate and pot. We were all in agreement that this sweet ending to our meal rated a score of 5. :worship:

One last photo, our server presented Emily with a card of congratulations for her graduation…

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So overall we were happy with our decision to venture away from Universal property to have dinner that night. And if you are as “fond” of fondue as we are, I think you too would enjoy The Melting Pot! ::yes::

Want to know what I did next on this trip or just want to share a comment on this review? Click here to go to this trip’s blog post!You just graduated from college!! What’s next? – May 2015 Trip

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