By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
As soon as you walk in, the giant sign on the wall next to the open kitchen that reads “Cheese and chocolate fixes everything” is a dead giveaway that the newly reopened Melting Pot in Colonia Polanco is not going to be the same stuffy – and sometimes pretentious – restaurant that its forbearer was.
No siree, Bob!
Unlike the first Melting Pot in Mexico, which opened just a few blocks down the street in 2011 only to close down a few years later, this is a whole new reinvented and revamped fondue heaven that exudes casualness and nonchalance.
From the invitingly cozy table settings (sans those cumbersome oversized teppanyaki burners that made cross-table conversation a near impossibility at the former MP) to the more trendy menu items – which run the gamut from traditional Alpine fondue crafted out of mix of gruyere, raclette and fontina cheese and blended with white wine, garlic and freshly ground nutmeg (alas, the once-omnipresent kirsch that gave the dish its unique tang has been sidelined in order to keep prices down, but the concoction is still sumptuous) to an innovative and zesty nacho-style “fiesta fondue” with sizzling aged cheddar, spicy jalapeños and a generous portion of lager beer to give it a malty tinge – this is definitely a more millennial-focused eatery.
The main dish fondue menu has also been updated, with a less-filling meat options like thinly sliced Angus beef sirloin and teriyaki filet mignons or giant Pacific Rim shrimps and chicken dim sum dumplings.
And rather than limiting the cooking style for these meats to a ho-hum pot of boiling olive oil, the new titivated Melting Pot offers its guests a choice of mojo vegetable consommé broth flavored with chopped garlic and citrus rinds or a perky French-style coq au vin red-wine-and-fine-herbs bouillon to simmer them in.
As for the dippers, you will still find the standard crusted bread, apple slices, broccoli flowers, baby carrots and mushroom halves accompanying your orders, but you can now also add French fries, and who hasn’t been tempted to douse a fry into a pot of bubbling cheese or smoldering wine broth? Now you can do just that without fear of sneering glances from your companions because the fries are listed on the menu as supplementary dippers.
If meat is not your thing, there is a spinach-artichoke fondue that is listed in the appetizer section of the menu but that is hardy enough to pass for a main course.
The salad selections at the new Melting Pot have not changed much. (The owners were smart enough to stick to the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”)
The California salad has the usual suspects of lettuce, tomatoes and gorgonzola cheese snazzed up with a generous helping of raspberry vinaigrette and caramelized walnuts, and the Caesar salad is about what you might expect accept for a hint of pine seeds in the dressing.
And then, of course, there are the desserts – rich, glorious desserts composed of melted chocolate accompanied by fresh fruit, marshmallows and bits of pound cake for dipping.
Whether you opt for the Yin & Yang blend of white and dark chocolate stewed in a churning base of decaffeinated lungo espresso or the gooey s’mores-style Cookies ‘n Cream porridge of dark chocolate blended with marshmallow cream floating with tiny bits of Oreo cookies, this is the course where you can really indulge your sweet-tooth cravings.
You would have to be a culinary Grinch to not enjoy this course at the Melting Pot.
After all, like the sign says, “Cheese and chocolate fixes everything.”
The new Melting Pot restaurant in Polanco is located at Presidente Masaryk 360, local 6, in Colonia Polanco.
It is open to the public Monday through Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to midnight, and Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Reservations are advised but not necessary. Valet parking is available in front of the restaurant.
There are also Melting Pot restaurants in Satélite and Interlomas.