Best Fondue San Francisco 2004 - Matterhorn Swiss Restaurant
The ideal wintertime scenario: an Alpine lodge in Cortina, the Wallis, or maybe Truckee; a bevy of sweater-clad kindred spirits; one of those sunken stone-and-brass fire pits; and a gloriously retro cauldron of fragrant, luscious, interactive fondue. Like Mongolian hot pot and Korean barbecue, the Swiss national dish inspires cozy feelings of culinary good fellowship, as friends gather round to dunk collective forkfuls of bread, meat, and vegetables into a cheesy, bubbling hearth. Despite a chronic shortage of proximal snowflakes, Matterhorn captures the whole schnapps-and-accordion fondue ambience perfectly. A dozen varieties are served in a re-created Swiss chalet (the elements and furnishings were shipped here from the real deal and reassembled, knotty pine and all), and there's enough kirsch-fueled gemütlichkeit for everyone. The fondues themselves range from the original (Emmenthaler and Gruyère) to the highlander (cheddar, Gruyère, and scotch) to the Bourguignonne (steak dipped in a wine-scented brew) to a dessert version involving strawberries and melted chocolate (yum). Matterhorn's award-winning cellar of fondue-friendly wines is another convivial preventative against our Alpine midsummer weather.