The elegant atmosphere seems almost incongruent with the fun you'll have cooking. The high gloss cherry-stained floor accents the shiny black tables. The off-white walls showcase the glimmering candles on high shelves. There are delicate splashes of color with the burgundy napkins, the layered drapes in burgundy, bronze and cream, and the large fresh flowers on the far back wall. It looks like a place for romantic rendezvous, but on the night I was there a large group of people dined there as well.
The magic pot
On every table there is a gleaming silver pot which is carefully watched by the servers. As soon as you sit down, they heat up the pot that sits on the middle of the table. The controls are on the side so customers can control the heat as well. Everyone is warned not to touch the handle, as that gets very hot during the melting process. Color-coded long fondue forks are at each place setting. That way, there is no chance to mix up forks while cooking the entrees, which take longer to prepare.
For appetizers, there is a choice of five different cheese fondues, all of which are served with bread and apples. We chose the formaggio, which is mozzarella and Fontina melted with cracked black pepper, white wine, and lemon juice. According to our server, the white wine helps to break down the cheese into a smooth consistency. With it we were served hot spicy tomato sauce, which when dipped with the cheese and bread tasted like pizza. The cheese was mild and delicious and well worth the melting wait!
Other cheese choices include: Gruyere and Emmentaler, Gruyere with onions, cheddar and cilantro, and cheddar with lager beer. All the dishes are $15 for two people plus $7 for each additional person.
For someone with only a little knowledge of cooking, the section for entrees might seem daunting, especially when you realize that you will have to cook it yourself at the table! However, the knowledgeable staff was extremely patient and thorough when explaining the cooking process.
First you choose from the seven choices of meats and then you choose the cooking style, or sauces. We choose the chicken and then the blanco sauce because that was a meat we had prepared before. They instructed us on timing and when to add the vegetables to the sauce that we were simmering. They were also careful to explain about safe handling of the meat. The rice, which was cooked already, was served on the side.
And so we cooked dinner! First we speared the chicken, and a few minutes later we added the vegetables. The meat was tender and delicately seasoned from the sauce which was flavored with wine, garlic and pepper. All of the meats come with different dipping sauces. The chicken comes with excellent lime dill and a spicy teriyaki. The price for an individual portion is from $13 to $24 depending on the meat. The price per couple is $20 to $36.
Is there ever a bad choice with chocolate? There are six different creamy chocolate melted sensations to choose from. We choose campfire, which is chocolate, marshmallow, and graham crackers. All of the desserts come with a beautifully presented plate of fruit, brownies, and marshmallows. All dessert fondues serve one to two for $15. Each additional person is $7.
There isn't liquor served at the establishment, but you are welcome to bring your own wine. They serve soda, juice, coffee, espresso, and hot chocolate. Major credit cards accepted. For reservations or more information please call: (201) 969-8005 or visit: www.themagicpotfonduebistro.com .