I had been to the Melting Pot before, so I knew what I was getting myself into. It is a pricey endeavor, and best for groups and celebrations (with people who are prepared to pay $50+ each for dinner), or couples who enjoy a long meal and lots of conversation. I took a friend here who had never heard of fondue. "So...I don't get it. You have to cook your OWN food..? AND it's expensive??" But he was quickly won over. This is an experience you should have at least once in your lifetime, and having owned a fondue set I only used once, I can tell you that it's almost as expensive to do this at home yourself as to go out and have everything cut and prepared for you. You're not only paying for fine cheeses and meats, you're paying for the ambience, experience, and convenience of having everything pre-prepared for you so that you can simply enjoy the food and meat that you've cooked to your preference.
The usual menu is three courses:
1. Cheese fondue blend in which you dip a variety of breads, raw vegetables, and chips
2. Main course with 5 types of meat, seafood, or a combination of both, as well as potatoes, mushrooms, and broccoli to cook in a beef or vegetable broth.
3. Dessert course with a blend of chocolates or chocolate and candy flavors and dessert treats and fruits to dip in it - strawberries, bananas, pineapple, rice crispy treats, brownies, and pound cake.
We dined here on a Sunday night in August, and did not have reservations. The greeter hesitated as if it might be a problem, and had to check the reservation list before admitting us, which I thought was odd since the restaurant was only about 2/3 full. Nevertheless, we were seated right away and our server was friendly and attentive. He quickly explained the process before each course, made a few recommendations, and then left us to decide. Diners have at least 6 choices of combinations for each course. He answered all of our questions in a friendly, helpful way, and brought our food and drink refills promptly, then prepared the cooking pots in front of us while he explained the ingredients he was adding and the cooking times for each of the meat and seafood selections.
For a few dollars more, they throw in a salad. We were starving, so of course, we got the salads, expecting them to be tiny side salads, but they weren't. We soon regretted the extra unnecessary food. Each guest has his/her own plate of cut meat and seafood portions, and it's a lot of food, especially considering the fact that the entire meal is eaten slowly over a few hours. You get full during the main course, and then it's harder to enjoy the dessert. Harder, not impossible. I ended up eating only half of the main course, and then cooked the rest and boxed it to take home. The meat was absolutely delicious. I particularly enjoyed the pork. There are a variety of dipping sauces served with the main meal, and again, the waiter explained what the sauces were, and which meats or seafood each sauce complimented.
If you don't mind a pricier splurge, and wish to have a pleasant dining experience that spans 2 or 3 hours, this is a great choice. It's fun - and even entertaining - as long as you are with company that appreciates this kind of experience. Be aware: there is only one melting pot for the table per course, so diners have to agree on the food combinations. The first time I dined at a Melting Pot in Hawaii, I was with some friends, one of whom did not want to try ANYTHING out of the ordinary. We ended up with nacho cheese dip, one type of meat for the main course, and plain milk chocolate for dessert. (She's also the one who wanted to spend the entire vacation in Hawaii at the pool. And no. I was not the one who invited her.) In my opinion, it's not worth the money if you're just going to order what you usually eat. So bear this in mind when you consider who you'd like to invite!
Hope that helps! Enjoy!