Styling by Monica Mariano (Chocolate) / Photographs by Toan Trinh
Better Sorts Social Club
At this spiffy new hangout in downtown’s Kimpton Nine Zero Hotel, local bar star Naomi Levy’s creative cocktail menu complements such shareable snacks as the fondue: skewers of charred roasted Brussels sprouts and crushed fingerling potatoes that are swept through a cast-iron pot of luscious Vermont cheddar. Pair it with a savory tipple like the Cacio e Pepe, a vodka martini with Gouda-infused vermouth and black-pepper-pasta-water syrup.
90 Tremont St., Boston, 617-772-5834, bettersortsboston.com.
The owner of the north end’s now-closed Carmen helped roll out this urbane take on an Italian trattoria at Somerville’s Assembly Row. Try the fonduta, a terra cotta tub filled with molten Monte Veronese latte intero, a subtly sweet and piquant cow’s-milk cheese produced in the Lessini mountains near Verona. La Cucina serves it with spicy soppressata, ciabatta, roasted fingerlings, and giardiniera-pickled veggies like carrots, peppers, and cauliflower florets.
400 Assembly Row, Somerville, lacucinaassemblyrow.com.
Sky Bar at Yotel
For a rare wintertime rooftop dining experience, ascend to the Sky Bar at the Seaport’s 12-floor Yotel and cuddle around a crock of quattro formaggio fondue: blue, cheddar, Gruyère, and Swiss cheeses that are spiked with cherry brandy and white wine, plus wintry spices such as thyme and nutmeg, and slathered on bread and fruit. You’ll stay warm with blankets, heated water bottles, and hot cocktails like Le Baron Rouge, cognac with coffee and cinnamon syrup.
65 Seaport Blvd., Boston, 617-377-4747, yotel.com/boston.
Kings Dining & Entertainment
Grownup game-and-grub destination Kings has a new lineup of creative, nontraditional fondues to match its playful vibe. Our favorite is a chocolate chip cookie iteration: Between bowling frames or rounds in the recently opened Seaport location’s retro arcade, use sweet snacks like Rice Krispies treats, marshmallows, and waffle bites to break through a cookie-like top crust, then dunk the treats in gooey French dark chocolate.
60 Seaport Blvd., Boston, 617-401-0025; and other locations; kings-de.com.
There’s an umami undertone to the chocolate fondue at West Newton’s Lumière. There, executive chef and owner Jordan Bailey adds a bit of white soy to melted Belgian dark chocolate, served in a clay dish with a skewer for dipping charred hazelnut fritters, candied ginger tuiles, and seasonal citrus such as tangerine. Bailey recommends complementing it with Blandy’s Malmsey 1999, a funky madeira aged in American oak casks.
1293 Washington St., Newton, 617-244-9199, lumiererestaurant.com.
Even Willy Wonka would be impressed by the breadth of cocoa-covered delectables here (think: beer-battered onion rings with chocolate ranch dressing). When the actual dessert course arrives, the signature fondue is where it’s at: Choose two ceramic towers filled with melted dark, white, or milk chocolate to sweeten a sampler of chocolate-cheesecake crêpes, chocolate sponge cake, and more. Still shopping for Valentine’s Day? The restaurant’s store sells fondue sets.
745 Boylston St., Boston, 617-274-1741, maxbrenner.com.
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