07 January 2010


On 53rd between 8th and 9th - Photos from Swizz website

What we had

It's cold, dark and windy. You round the corner at 8th and there on the south side of 53rd is a small red entrance that opens to a long narrow room in exposed brick. I thought a fondue sounded good last night. Sold it to the Golf Foxtrot and off we went. I can't remember the last time I had fondue but am pretty sure it was under Trad Dad's roof. Back then it was a pot of hot oil and pieces of steak.

Despite a take away menu I had picked up from Swizz when they were closed (dinner only), the Fondue for two is $35 and not $21 (that's for one). The wine list made up for that misunderstanding with every selection under $40 and a great selection for $30 or less. Still, you're not getting outta here for less than a hundred. That seems to be the law in Manhattan.

We did the TRADitional Gruyere and Emmenthal cheese with bread and a bottle of French Chardonnay. A couple things I should have thought of. Fondue places are notorious for parties. Brick walls are good for the reflection of sound. Parties and brick walled restaurants are not a good pairing. Lastly, I'm lactose intolerant. Neither was a welcome realization.

I liked the fondue. It has an earthy taste and seems to be one note until you get into it. And I got into it. The cold Chardonnay is perfect for the hot cheese although I think a dry Riesling might be better. The waiter was alone but moved like greased lightning and refused to let me play with the Sterno.

I can't help but think how these walls would look with a few Swiss posters rather than somebody's endless supply of macro shots of flowers with their prices stuck next them. It's a cheesey thing to do in any restaurant. Fondue or not.

Not a bad place but not worth a hundred bucks. I'd like to go back for the Raclette cheese served over boiled potatoes, gherkins and silver onions but I may have a tough time selling it to the Foxtrot. She was underwhelmed. Although we did a brisk walk home when the stomach reminded me of that problem with dairy. Brick walls and dairy... never forget.


Brummagem Joe said...

....I'll look it up as I'm coming to NYC in the next few days......I'm a great fan of fondue and in fact participated in a massive fondue fest with my son in law's extended German family in LA on news year eve........you definitely need to something to cut all that dairy, we had a choice of a very dry champagne or a Chardonnay as you did.....thanks for the tip

Julia said...

It's fun to try something different once in a while, and you did. (And, I'm glad YOU did because now I'll know to stay away.) Since you're still on the Swiss theme, I wanted to chime in . . . there is a restaurant in Zurich called "Crazy Cow" and the menu is in Swiss-German, which is a novel thing to do. I snagged this menu while there and gave it to my German language teacher pal, who used it in her classes to show the nuances of the language. So, Swiss-German language lives, at least on your blog for now. (Sorry to hog post, but I'm usually late to the table, and this time I'm early. You know I'm a fan . . .)

GSV JR said...

If the TRADitional pot o' fromage put you on the fritz, stay zipcodes away from raclette.

KAA said...

If you're interested in giving fondue one more try I recommend Artisanal on 32nd and Park Ave ( http://www.artisanalbistro.com )

Much better atmosphere and the Mac & Cheese is astounding too

Sean said...

At the age of 22 I ate fondue in Switzerland- a great and memorable experience.

That night, I made the bad decision to eat the salami sandwich that had been in my back pack since taking the train from Germany half a week earlier

The lesson- fondue hardens in the stomach, and feels unpleasant exiting through the nose.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

That reminds me, about time for a fondue party here at The Manse. You can lighten it up using broth and seafood, too. In the end, with a couple of extras thrown in you have a soup.

But we'll probably go with cheese and steak.

initials CG said...

Hog post? Great notion, guilty.

Years ago in Saratoga, California, south of San Francisco, there used to a quiet, romantic fondue restaurant. Years ago, because it always less than hundred for a full blown deal. If you're ever thinking of dazzling the GF, drive down the coast and turn back inland and try it out. Can't remember what it's called though.

Yeah, that's a great tip...no name, no directions. Useful.

LPC said...

Silly Tintin, fondue is for girls...The Trix Rabbit told me so.

Anonymous said...

Well it IS a wine bar, so you're gonna pay markup for the wine and get to $100 pretty fast. And fondue always seems like hors d'oeuvres to me, deserving of such a place. Always nice to follow up with the melty chocolate/sherry fondue, though.

I agree: a shame they couldn't at least get some repro Swiss posters, travel or otherwise. But businesses are afraid of "theme-ing" and most customers are just plain clueless when it comes to enhancing atmosphere.


John said...

I will always miss La Fondue, an amazingly affordable lil dive in midtown. Disappeared bout 15 years ago. Unlimited reboots of sourdough bread and hot tea.

tintin said...

Joe- You may wanna try Artisinal as mentioned here by KAA. I've been hearing a lot about it.

I went to the Crazy Cow website. Man, that place looks like a great time. Amazing cocktail menu as well. I'm always up for trying new food -- I admit to enjoying monkey in Panama but I hate getting hosed. A hundred bucks for some melted cheese, a $30 bottle of wine and stale bread is not the greatest value.

Stew- I need to find a good goat or sheep cheese fondue. Thanks for the warning but I'll still try it... while staying close to the loo.

KAA- I will try it. I've heard a lot about it recently.

Sean- Ouch. I'm a fan of expired smoked meats as the GF'll tell you.

E&E- I have to try the steak and oil again at home with a big cab or bordeaux. Perfect winter chow. Might even experiment with some alternative cheeses to cow.

CG- It was with good intentions.

LPC- Is it? I didn't know. But if that's where the girls are -- then that's where I want to be.

DB- The wine was cheap and a decent value. Plus, the wine bar is down stairs, which, now that I think about it - is probably where we should've gone. We were in the up stairs restaurant. When are coming up so I can show you all this stuff?

John- Now that place sounds like a good deal.

Brummagem Joe said...

tintin said...
"Joe- You may wanna try Artisinal as mentioned here by KAA. I've been hearing a lot about it."

.......I've added it to the list......the one I go to will depend on where I'm located at lunch hour!