Ken loves fondue. Some of you may even remember his birthday party at the Melting Pot, a restaurant which turned out to be a huge disappointment, and is now, fortunately, closed. So when I read about Le Chalet, a crepe and fondue place in Glendale, I knew we’d be going.
I want to apologize in advance for the tone of this review, and even urge you to visit Le Chalet despite my reservations, particularly since we tried only one dish. I really don’t know what it was about the place that made me so crabby. So, with that caveat, here goes.
The place is cute, in a kitschy French/Swiss village-y kind of way. Dark wood and stuccoed white walls with lots of appropriate photos and posters. But I had the feeling that the whole thing, except the show kitchen, was done on a shoe-string budget. The silverware and plates were low end, but a cloth napkin was provided. The sink in the ladies room was supposed to look like it was carved out of a chunk of rock, but it was a laughable fake. I think perhaps the owners tried too hard.
We ordered the Swiss Cheese Fondue ($17.50), one of the more expensive items on the menu. I had read that it was enough for two, and indeed it was. Before it came to the table we were given a complimentary tartine, basically a slice of toasted bread with some tasty cheese melted on top. This is served to every table, and it struck me as an odd choice since so many of the things on the menu involve bread and cheese. The fondue arrived in a timely manner, along with a bowl of bread cubes. Unhappily, the bread was refrigerator cold, which meant it had been cubed and stored beforehand. This took all the crispness out of the crust - it was really undistinguished bread. The fondue was delicious, redolent of wine and Kirsch. I don’t know why, but the cheese was
extremely chewy - at least that forced us to eat very, very slowly. My biggest complaint is that fondue by itself is a very one-dimensional meal. While you can purchase a side salad, it seemed to me that for the price it should be included with the fondue. My final grump is that our water glasses were never refilled.
I’ll repeat that this is a place you should experience for yourselves. There’s beef ($22.75) and chicken ($18.75) fondues, and a specialty dish called “La Potence” ($24) which is a 10 ounce beef tenderloin flambeed tableside by the chef. The savory crepes are much less expensive, averaging about $10. One has roquefort cheese, caramelized apples and walnuts. Another has sliced sauteed potatoes with onions and bacon topped with melted Raclette cheese. Some entree salads are served in a savory crepe shell ($11.50). Simple sweet crepes average about $3.75, and there are more complex ones like Crepe Ultimate Chocolate ($8.25) with chocolate brownie, chocolate ice cream, chocolate ganache and chocolate powder. We actually were so full from our rich cheese fondue that we passed on dessert.
Maybe if I start with a dessert crepe next time I won’t be so grumpy.
5626 W. Bell Rd. Glendale 602-337-8760
open 7 days 11 - 10 (later on weekends) for lunch and dinner (the menu is the same)
The Melting Pot
3626 E Ray Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85044
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