No need to get into who’s been too busy and hardly ever home, and who’s been a boring dud just sitting on the couch watching TV all the time. Point is, Chow, Baby and the beloved needed a romantic evening out to rekindle that old magic.
Luckily for us, and for temporarily shaky couples everywhere, Simply Fondue has just opened a Sundance Square location (111 W. 4th St.). Yes, fondue is your stereotypic Sexy Romance 101, and it can be spectacularly unsubtle in its gooeyness. But it still works. Fondue’s aphrodisia comes from two things: the food, which is all bite-sized and begs to be skewer-fed to your sweetie (infantilism is an important component of romance); and the forced teamwork, which begins with finding the restaurant. Simply Fondue is actually below street-level, so first you have to find the street entrance, and then you have to hold hands as you descend into the unknown. Surprise, downstairs is actually quite lovely, with a nice contemporary-modern décor that never crosses the line into enough-already ultra-hip. In for three minutes, and still nothing has gotten on Chow, Baby’s nerves: That’s good mood-setting.
The main collaboration is choosing items on the Fondue Dinner for Two ($42 each; the final collaboration is chipping in for the bill). You can get separate fancy salads but must agree on one of the five starter cheese fondues (with bread and veggies for dipping); then pick six meat/chicken/seafood items (four pieces in each) out of 18 possibilities; then agree on a cooking method (traditional oil, grill, or broth); then finally harmonize on one of a dozen chocolate fondue desserts (served with dippable fresh fruit and a lot of sugar bombs – marshmallows, cheesecake bites, and the like). All the agreement made Chow, Baby feel warm and tender; all the great food, ditto. Yeah, $100 for fondue is a lot, but that’s less than marriage counseling and a whole lot tastier.