Saturday, July 2, 2011

Latin America Big Night Out at The Melting Pot Restaurant Review - $20 DIP Card Giveaways! FIVE winners (ends 7/17) (giveaway extended through 7/24 due to a technical error)

The Melting Pot of Westwood

A few nights ago, my sister and I had the most wonderful dinner at The Melting Pot in Westwood, NJ. If you have never been to a Melting Pot restaurant, you'll want to book a reservation when you finish reading this review!

The menu consists of fondue items, but please, erase from your mind any preconceived notions you have about fondue, and let me tell you about this summer's promotion.  "Big Night Out" is a Latin American themed menu with several choices sure to satisfy any appetite.

I mentioned that I brought my sister along.  She has celiac sprue and absolutely cannot have food with gluten in it.  I chose to bring her - because in addition to this fun new menu, the Melting Pot Restaurants in Westwood, NJ; Darien, CT; and White Plains, NY are pleased to be offering (safe!) gluten free dining for any patrons with wheat allergies.  She is my canary in the coal mine.  If she gets even a hint of gluten, we all know it!

We started the evening with something from the drink menu.  Both of these drinks were from the gluten free selections.

The Melting Pot - Drinks

We looked over the menu you see here.  It is the same as the regular menu, but you can clearly see the instructions, in bold lettering, that assist diners with gluten free ordering.  Just ask your server for the special menu when you are seated. 

Big Night Out Menu

Our first course was the Queso Fundido.  It was mixed together right at the table by our excellent waiter, Billy.  We were given bread, veggies, and apple slices to dip into this amazing Fontina, Gruyere and Gran Queso mixed with Jalepeno, Chorizo and a little bit of lime.  Your waiter will make it as spicy or as mild as you like.

Melting Pot - Queso Fundido

It was really very good.  The gluten free bread was made with a rice flour, and was not an ideal choice for dipping because it is rather delicate.  I suggest using the pour it on method pictured above.  It worked well.


Melting Pot - Breads and Veggies

These are the breads, (above) and they were all fresh and delicious.  I poured my cheese onto a dish so I wouldn't get any wheat crumbs into the fondue.

We both had the chips - yum.  We could have had just the cheese and been happy.. but then we would have missed out on the second course - this Shrimp Ceviche Salad.   The citrus shrimp, tropical fruit and avocado were a beautiful accompaniment to the greens.  (and there were a few more tortilla chips, too!)

Shrimp Ceviche Salad

For our main course, we selected the Fondue Fusion with Mojo style cooking.  This included a full fresh water lobster tail, Filet Mignon, Chimichurri Sirloin, Garlic Piri Piri Shrimp, Mole Marinated Chicken Breast, Citrus Marinated Pork Tenderloin, and Fire Roasted Corn-Salsa Ravioli.  (we omitted the ravioli from my sister's dinner, because it is not gluten free.  You will see them, in the photo below, carefully placed away from the other food and on a separate dish)

The Mojo fondue for cooking was made with Caribbean seasoned bullion, and a touch of garlic and citrus.  The pot boils away in the center of the table, and the meats are dipped in to cook for a few minutes at a time.

There were also red potatoes, mushrooms and broccoli served with dinner.  The potatoes boiled for about 10 minutes, the veggies cooked quickly.

Fondue Fusion with Mojo

All of the smaller pots you see are dipping sauces.  Oh.. my.  These were amazing!  Mustard, Teriyaki, Lemon Butter for the lobster, some cream with chives for the potato, horseradish, a cocktail sauce for the shrimp... These made the great food taste even better!

By the time we finished this course, we were glazed over in full, happy satisfaction, but there was still more to come -
Chocolate Fondue

THAT pot contains a chocolate fondue made with Dark chocolate, thick Dulce de Leche, and a touch of Sea Salt.  The waiter probably gets stuck with a few prongs a night by anxious diners who can't wait to dip their desserts into the mix.

to dip into the chocolate fondue

You can see there is fresh fruit and marshmallow on the gluten free side. I had the same, plus cheesecake, brownie and Rice Krispie Treats on my side.
It was a very enjoyable evening.  The food was great, the service fantastic, and the atmosphere was comfortable.  Best of all, my sister felt fine after eating, and declares The Melting Pot in Westwood very Gluten Free Safe and Friendly.

Another nice feature about the Melting Pot Restaurants is that they can accommodate many needs.  There is a bar area, which has seating for any diners who come in without a reservation on a busy night.  There are party areas for get togethers, a "Lover's Lane" with seating for two in a quiet corner, and larger tables for families.  

You'll also want to see the Special Events Page on the website.  Here you'll find all of the nice things the owners do for the community.  Like the Straight A Club.  If your student brings in a report card with Straight A's, they can have their dinner free!  (with the purchase of an adult dinner) The Fondue and a Flick Program is also very popular, as is the Monday Night Ladies Night.

If you enjoy the Melting Pot experience, be sure to sign up for their rewards program, and earn points for your dining loyalty.

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Now for the fun part.  If you live in the tri-state (NY, NJ, CT) area, The Melting Pot is generously offering FIVE separate winners ONE $20.00 DIP card.  These Gift Cards will be honored at the Westwood, NJ; Darien, Ct; or White Plains, NY locations, ONLY!

Here's how to enter.

[Giveaway closed]


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**My meal was provided to me courtesy of the Melting Pot in order to write an informed review.  I was not paid to write it or to host this giveaway.