Fondue has been around forever, but where do you go to get it aside from the Melting Pot? Being a native Wisconsinite, that was the first thing I was asking about when coming the southwest. (Yes, we love our cheese and beer!)
Plenty of places around the metro-Phoenix area have fondue as an appetizer -- even though it could easily be a meal for two. Fondue is typically melted cheese with some sort of bread on the side, usually a soft pretzel. Of course, some restaurants have taken that idea and run with it, giving their dishes a twist to make their fondue unique.
In This Corner: Windsor
The Setup: A small bar and restaurant, Windsor is hard to see from the street if you don't know what you're looking for. With such a relaxed atmosphere it's hard to believe how upscale the business is. On top of the great staff, there's also the option to get all the food to go so as you don't have to wait for a seat.
The Good: It took a little while to even get to the table, but it was worth the wait. The entire plate ($12) was a meal enough for two! It took all I am to not eat the entire thing myself. The pretzel bread was soft and still warm from the kitchen, the combination of granny smith and fuji apples gave a sweet and tart for the cheddar cheese, and the sausage was perfect for any meat lover and tasted delicious. The fondue itself was creamy yet thick, so one dunk of the apple into the pot gave you a heaping amount of the cheese to eat.
The Bad: There definitely were not enough apples or sausage as compared to the pretzel bread (which easily accounted for more than half of the dipping material) but other than that minor detail, there isn't much to complain about.
In This Corner: The Arrogant Butcher
The Setup: With such a large space, The Arrogant Butcher is able to hold a jamming amount of people within its walls. The mood is so laid back that it makes trying to pick out something to eat so easy.
The Good: It was only a few minutes between ordering the fondue ($10) and receiving it. The pretzels were extremely plump and very soft. There was just the right amount of salt on each one; they were pleasantly warm. The cheese was overflowing in its pot. This was easily a meal for three with how filling it was.
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The Bad: The cheese tasted like the nacho variety that you get from a movie theater. It also had a layer of old cheese on top, leading me to believe that it had been sitting out for a while.
And the winner is... Windsor. Even though the wait time was much longer, the freshness of the products and the differences that were added, Windsor was definitely ahead of the game with fondue.