What sounds better on a chilly, Covid-mandated outdoor dining night than warm food shared with friends and family? And what better way to warm your insides than a steaming cauldron of fondue? That was the plan as I headed to Cameron Park to experience owner and executive chef Carie Toeller’s new venture, Fondue 152.
There were some challenges beyond appropriate outdoor attire, namely Chef Carie’s call-out to name all the film stars of yesteryear pictured on the restaurant wall. Maybe a surprise to Carie, but not to me; my companion nailed it, recording an A+. A good start for us!
So, on to the four-course fondue. We started with the bacon and brie—a can’t-miss for me. Who doesn’t like warm brie with salty cured meat topped with a dollop of preserves on soft sourdough? This was a melted version of the cheese board favorite, and along with bread, there were also sliced apples and peppers, cheese, and another surprise: pickles.
Course number two—caramelized Brussels sprouts topped with candied bacon butter sauce—was a big hit. We also ordered a bowl of rustic potato soup; though flavorful, it was texturally a bit of a miss (for me).
Next, the entrée course—cooked on a raclette grill—where we each chose three proteins from one of three price ranges: traditional/decadent/exotic or one from each (“mix it up”). We both chose the latter and landed salmon, filet mignon, lobster, calamari steak, smoked pork belly, and shrimp. What a feast! A little patience was required for the cooking process, due to the cold, but we adapted, overcame (i.e., drank wine), and were rewarded with a great main course. The four house-made dipping sauces (lemon butter, teriyaki, horseradish, orange coulis) and side of sliced, pre-cooked potatoes to grill were a nice touch, too.
It’s probably wise they don’t make fondue forks longer and sharper, as a sword fight may have erupted over the dessert course. We (OK, make that I) chose the Bailey’s and coffee fondue of semi-sweet dark chocolate and Bailey’s Irish cream liqueur with a splash of coffee. The recipients of the warm cocoa bath were pound cake, blondies, Rice Krispies Treats, strawberries, grapes, and bananas. Fortunately, there was such an abundance of food that the other diners observed only minor skirmishes.
Chef Carie has a tasty takeout menu, too (with the current suspension of on-site dining*), so don’t refrain from giving them a call—let’s support each other!
Hours: 4:30-8 p.m. (Thursday-Sunday); 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (Saturday-Sunday); closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday
Try This: Wedge Salad, House Cheese Fondue, Bacon & Brie Fondue, Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Lobster Wellington, Filet Mignon French Dip, Bailey’s & Coffee Fondue
Drinks: Beer & wine
Heads-Up: Outdoor dining; vegetarian options; reservations accepted; takeout and delivery menu; exotic meat offerings include alligator and camel; allow 2-3 hours for the full fondue experience; weekend brunch
by Lorn Randall
photos by Dante Fontana
photos by Dante Fontana
*As of press time; call to confirm
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