Recently my wife and I had a night to go out to dinner and dessert on our own as her mom was watching our 20-month old son. We chose to dine at one restaurant and then go to The Melting Pot for dessert only. We probably should have had dessert at the other restaurant. We dined at the location in Annapolis, MD but as this is a chain restaurant the routine is probably the same for most restaurants in the chain. Overall we just felt a little bit rushed and like our server felt we were a waste of their time.
We arrived at about 8:45 with a reservation we had made on the phone for 9:00 for dessert only. Upon arriving in the parking lot we were surprised to see quite a few empty parking spaces. We have dined at The Melting Pot before around this time of evening and reservations are normally required and the parking lot is packed. We thought that maybe this being the weekend before July 4th had a role to play in the situation. As soon as we walked in they were ready to seat us, we told the hostess that we had a 9:00 reservation for dessert only. We were led to our seat and handed menus. The menus we were handed were for dinner. When our waitress come over and we explained the situation she seemed a little disappointed. She brought us the dessert menu and asked for our drink order. We had enjoyed mixed drinks at dinner so decided on just sodas for the dessert, and when she heard us order soda we could see a disappointed look on her face and she said she would be right back for our dessert decision.
The menu of dessert selections has a fair variety ranging from the basic white, dark, and standard chocolate selections to items such as smores which includes marshmallows and is flambeed and has additional graham crackers on your dipping tray. They also have a turtle selection which of course includes caramel, we choose the cookies and cream which had marshmallow cream, and chocolate and was flambeed for our entertainment value. After choosing the type of chocolate you also get to choose either the large or small tray. We choose the small for $14 as there were only two of us and the large tray would be $28. Your dipping tray includes items such as strawberries, banana slices, small pieces of brownies, small pieces of cake, pineapple, and a small piece of cheesecake. After the flames from the flambe went out our server presented the tray and left us to enjoy our dessert.
Overall the quality of the chocolate and the items on the dessert tray were very good. The one thing to note is the chocolate is not all that hot until you get towards the bottom of the fondue pot. When eating the cheesecake they give you a spoon to ladle the chocolate onto the cake instead of putting it in the pot fondue style as cheesecake tends to fall apart. This was a nice touch, but as a word of warning do not leave that spoon in the chocolate where they place it if you will be eating the cake last. The spoon was very hot when we picked it up.
Our waitress checked in to see how we were enjoying our dessert and then kept returning to ask us if we would like to order anything additional. It was clear that she was trying to get us to order some of the interesting mixed drinks on their menu or a glass of wine. The mixed drinks range from about $7-11 and looked good, but we just weren’t in the mood for another one at that time. She again seemed a little disappointed and brought us our check, once again asking us “would you like anything additional”. I understand that at a restaurant like this a waiter or waitress will not have many tables at once and would like to have large orders so their tips are larger, but as a waiter or waitress this should not be so transparent to the customer. We almost felt she was begging us to order more. We have dined at The Melting Pot many times for meals and desserts together, and on those occassions the waitstaff seemed much friendlier. We were only at The Melting Pot for about 20-25 minutes, so her table did turn over quickly and hopefully she got another couple that had a larger bill, which resulted in a larger tip for her to make her happy.
We do enjoy dining at The Melting Pot, but only go for meals there on special occasions. We had decided to try the dessert only option as a special treat, but we have decided that it’s probably best just to go to The Melting Pot when we have saved the money for a special occasion and want to have the full meal with dessert as well. It just seems the service is friendlier and less aggressive when we do it that way.