Words By Andrew Bucket, Photos By Armando Gallardo
The 1964 Worlds Fair was Americas introduction to fondue, and by the 70s the dish a was a staple of the dinner party; an exotic, interactive, social dining experience that involved a cumbersome portable stove and the inevitable mess of cheese blobs on your carpet.
In my formative years, there was The Melting Pot, a restaurant (still around) that boasts a huge production of table stoves many iterations of fondue– and many young lovers went there for a homecoming or prom Fon-date. A pitfall of the Fon-date was smelling like you slept in a Benihana and, once word spread of the broth-y stench, it became a big Fon-don’t. No amount of Drakkar Noir can contend with the aromatic film of fondue-stock on your skin.
Jack Rose Executive Chef Russell Jones has undertaken all the Fon-do’s, and cut out the other stuff, but also written a dope drink menu to pair with the hip, cosy atmosphere in their fireside balcony, for what Jack Rose is calling Fondue By the Fire.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the whole thing is soundtracked by the songs of romantic 1980s female vocalists like Starship and Roxette. An intentional touch by chef.
One savory pot called Jacked Up features pumpernickel and rye breads, pretzels, marinated mushrooms and beef brisket, and a Vermont pepper jack gooey dip. The brisket really steals the show.
On the lighter side is the Oh Danny Boy spread, clearly a Irish inspired pot of aged cheddar with pork bangers, apples, and soda bread. The sharpness of the dip is a welcome edge to the easy going fare.
The S’more plate is simple enough (marshmallows, berries, graham crackers, bananas) but the thin milk chocolate gives the items a modest coat instead of a gluttonous blob.
Let’s talk booze now: the Scottish hot cocoa is all you need to get by in this miserable life. It’s made with a 10 year Glenmorangie, a naturally sweeter scotch, and you will be in love with the cocoa. It’s also a handy catch all for drippy chocolatey fondue sticks.
A bit left of center on the menu are the whiskey and beer pairings that showcase rare barrel aged beers and the whiskeys the beget them. I had the Eclipse Imperial Stout and a Woodford Reserve. This playful matchmaking reminds one that Jack Rose is an alcohol Mecca, boasting a list of such magnitude that experimentation isn’t just a lark to drum business, it’s a daily affair as intrinsic a part of the restaurants affairs as is turning on the lights.