The Gluten Intolerance Group recently announced that The Melting Pot had joined the Gluten Free Restaurant Awareness Program (GFRAP) and launched a gluten free menu. Conveniently, last week was my birthday, so we decided to go for my birthday dinner since neither of us had ever been there.
Initially I was a little hesitant as I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a guinea pig while they got ramped up on their gluten free services. But then I figured someone had to be first and decided to go for it. I made our reservation through their free online system and made a note that I required the gluten free menu. A couple of days prior the manager called to confirm the reservation and the need for a gluten free meal.
When we arrived, they noted again that we needed a gluten free menu* and took us to our secluded table for two. This table had only one burner for one pot of fondue at a time, which should usually suffice for the normal party of two. But after discussing our needs with our server, they decided to move us to a larger table so we could have two burners. The main reason for this was so we could each have our own separate entrée. As I have mentioned, I am not a total vegetarian but more of a flexitarian and thus I generally eat meat when I go out, but rarely cook it at home. My husband is a lacto-ovo vegetarian. And while their vegetarian option is great, when the gluten containing items are removed there isn’t much variety left and I wanted my husband to be able to have the full experience too. So they graciously provided us with a larger, two-burner table.
Shortly after we were seated at our new table, the manager, Tony, stopped by to check on me. We had a nice conversation about the new menu and how excited he was about it. He also told me that the next time we made a reservation to just mention that we needed a two burner table and they would accommodate us. I also mentioned to him that I had brought my own bread for dipping (shoved in my practically empty purse) and he said that was great and that they are looking into providing gluten free bread but are waiting until they see how the new menu goes over. He said the logistics of providing gluten free bread are difficult as they don’t know how much they would need and don’t want to leave it sitting in the freezer for a long period of time, waiting on the next gluten free customer, but that it may be an option in the future.
For our cheese course we shared the Spinach Artichoke Cheese Fondue with cauliflower, celery, carrots and apples. (As noted on the menu, you should request that it be made with cornstarch instead of flour.) I had also brought along some of my own bread and we dipped that as well. It was heavenly! The next course was the salads. We both had the California Salad and it was super yummy (although heavy on the dressing).
For our entrée, I ordered the Signature Selection and my husband got The Vegetarian. The Signature Selection typically comes with filet mignon, shrimp, teriyaki sirloin, chicken breast and salmon. It is noted on the gluten free menu that you should request a substitute for the teriyaki sirloin and so I requested scallops. We cooked each in our own separate fondue pots to avoid gluten contamination in my pot as well as meat contamination in the vegetarian pot. The dipping sauces they provide are also gluten free except for the teriyaki.
For desert, we chose The Original, which is a mixture of chocolate and peanut butter. The chocolate fondues usually come with a lot of gluten filled items for dipping (cake, brownie bites, Rice Krispy Treats) and I wanted my husband to be able to have all the other goodies, so the manager suggested that we could order one dessert but place it in two separate pots, one for me and one for my husband, thus eliminating the cross-contamination issue. It was wonderful! They brought me strawberries, cherries and bananas for dipping and I had also brought along some cubes of lemon pound cake that I had made at home. The menu says that they will provide plain marshmallows and pineapple also, but they didn’t give us those items, and I was so happy with the strawberries and bananas that I didn’t miss them. In fact, I asked for more bananas because they tasted so good with the chocolate and peanut butter fondue.
All in all, it was wonderful! And as far as I can tell, I was not contaminated. Our server, Les, was very conscientious and in fact, he had a shellfish allergy so he seemed to understand allergies and noted that he did not want to get me sick. My husband and I were both completely stuffed and loved it so I am sure we will be going back another time. If you plan on going, be sure to join Club Fondue through their website for special offers and a free chocolate fondue for two.
Kudos to The Melting Pot and especially Tony and Les at the Albuquerque location!
* One side note – in order to view the menu on the website, you need to type in a zip code to get the restaurant nearest you and from there you can click on the ‘menu’ button to see the different menus. The gluten free menu is listed separately. It initially took me a bit to figure this out.