Pasadena, CA 91105
The Melting Pot twitter.com/TheMeltingPot
Parking: Garage parking available on Delacy
Times: Monday-Friday: 5-7pm; Saturday & Sunday: 4-6pm
Drink Deals: $3 Domestic Beers, $4 Imported Beers, $5 House Wines and Well Drinks, $7 Martinis
Food Deals: $10 Cheese or Chocolate Fondues; or the Light Affair for $29 – Cheese Fondue, Fresh Salad, and House Wine for 2 (not bad!)
Back in our 2009 review of Sunset Blvd.’s Rainbow Room, I told a story about Hamburger Hamlet and it goes a little something like this… “The other J & I used to love going to Hamburger Hamlet a few blocks west of Rainbow Bar & Grill. The décor and patrons are so immaculately preserved in their 80’s finest, we liked to pretend we got an A on our science project and our parents were taking us out to celebrate.”
I was reminded again of this story when I visited The Melting Pot in Pasadena, which very much feels like a place your parents would treat you to after you turned in a really excellent book report in 1993. With its wooden paneling, interesting staff, and the novelty of their fondue mixin’ – The Melting Pot is one of those places that you should go once for a hoot, but that you don’t really need to visit again. Unless you’re feeling nostalgic and your kid just read Why Do Bananas Chew Gum (a pre-teen favorite of mine from a stint on a public access gameshow called “Battle of the Books” – no joke).
The décor definitely feels like an airport bar in the 90’s and the staff really was interesting. There was one very excited lady bartender/fondue maker who seemed so animated about her job that I thought she might break into song. Needless to say, she was fun. Not so fun was the pair of dude bartenders/fondue makers who acted like they’d rather be shoveling manure at the state fair than making Happy Hour fondue. Seriously, one of them left our neighbor couple’s dessert fondue over the flame for what seemed like an un-tasty amount of time.
And the fondue… well, it certainly is a novelty! The fondue-maker brings out all the ingredients and mixes them together in front of you on hot plates that are installed directly at the bar or on one’s table. It’s fun to watch as they let the ingredients bubble together into a very stringy cheese that the Mary Poppins fondue-maker at least made a show out of stringing a couple feet out! And the Happy Hour priced fondue is great - $10 for 2 people – you can choose from several cheese selections w/ dippers (tortilla chips, bread, vegetables, apples) or chocolate-y dessert selections w/ dessert-y dippers (fruit, cookies, etc).
Good wine & beer never disappoint!
Booze and I tried the Spinach Artichoke Cheese Fondue, but I’ll be honest that the taste wasn’t that wonderful – pretty bland/inoffensive to the many palettes of the Melting Pot’s visitors. Luckily, the drinks didn’t disappoint as much – we kicked back a couple glasses of house wine at $5 each and Dos Equiis at $4.
I think Booze pinned the tail on the donkey when she said that The Melting Pot is a swell place for a second or third date – something fun and communal that allows a new couple to interact with each other. I’m sure it’d also be a fun place to bring kids (after their book reports – ha!) as they’d get a kick out of sharing the fondue. Beyond that though, I can’t imagine anyone really making a habit of visiting the Melting Pot.
Rating: 2.5 Martinis