Fondue was on the brain when I was scanning the restaurants for Triangle Restaurant Week. While I was thinking Melting Pot, a couple of people pointed out Little Dipper in Durham so it was time to get my fondue on! I haven’t done fondue in ages and it’s as much about the experience as it is about the food so I was excited to meet up with a group of friends at Little Dipper in Brightleaf Square. And boy, what an interesting and fun experience it was…
Little Dipper exudes cool and warmth all at the same time. Walk through the brick arched entryway and you’re transported into magical fondue land! Nice bright bar on the left, starry display on the right, cool white mod and geometric lamps hanging overhead. The space is multi-layered with high walls to create more intimate dining areas. Perfect for dates or a group outing. Lots of warm woods and muted lighting make for a great feel. We get led out to some back tables in a narrow space, very cool!
With Triangle Restaurant Week, we get a four course meal: cheese, salad/soup, meats and dessert for a bargain $30. I’m not sure what the normal price would be but it’s a LOT of food and fun. Just beware that if you’re indecisive, Little Dipper will be tough on you. As you go through each course there are a TON of decisions to be made. You get the choice of 6 different cheeses for the first course, 6 different salads/soup, 6 different cooking styles, 7 different meats/mains (pick 3) and 15 or so different sauces (pick 3). And then 3 different dessert plates and 12 chocolate/dessert dips. Whoa! It can probably be overwhelming for a newbie but I wouldn’t sweat it too much since it’s all probably really good at Little Dipper.
At the table there are two burners and we go with the Baja Cheddar and Sun-dried Tomato cheeses. A plate of bread, fruit, and veggies are brought out as dippee’s. The cheeses get blended and stirred right in front of you and it’s time to eat! Really enjoy the spice in the Baja along with the rich flavor of the tomato, yum! And while you’re working for your food, it all feels really decadent. I’m nearly partially full before we hit round 2, a beer cheese soup for me which is quite good.
But now the REAL food comes out. We all get a tray of our meats and sauces along with two pots of cooking broths: Asian ginger and merlot vegetable. While it’s not a ton of meat, it’s more than enough once you dip. I’ve got some pork, shrimp, meatballs along with drawn butter, thai peanut sauce and hibachi yum yum. Which is really yummy, surprise.
You get a card with approximate cooking times for your meats which range from a minute plus for shrimp to four minutes plus for the meatballs. Fun to cook, fun to dip and delicious to eat! Little Dipper was slammed so our main course was a bit late. Unexpectedly, they comp’ed us a bottle of cava as we waited to eat, thank you so much…
And finally the last course, we go with a French Broad chocolate with salt caramel which shows up in a yin-yang design, nice! As we mix up this sauce, they bring out a plate of supreme dippers: rice krispie treats, marshmallow, fruit, cookies, pretzels and mini cream puffs. Holy shnikes. I’m ready to tap out right now but no wimping out tonight at Little Dipper, we plunge through most of the desserts and end up on a chocolate and sugar high note. THE END…
The fondue experience at Little Dipper ended up being close to 3 hours, they were just so busy that evening. But they were really kind by sending over some extras during the meal which my chubby body did not need after the holidays. But again, thanks so much Little Dipper! Great locally sourced food items, gracious service in an intimate and cool setting is always appreciated. While I’m sure normal prices here are not cheap, the Little Dipper fondue experience would absolutely be worth it from time to time. Bonding over cheese, meats and sweets is even more awesome when you cook together, bon appetit!
905 West Main Street, Suite 21A
Durham, NC 27701