We always knew LA was full of cheese.
It’s not news that retro-chic comfort food has made a comeback. Kraft Mac & Cheese is one thing, but the current, sizzling affaire du gout is with that old Swiss flame, fondue. The melty, kirsch-kissed, social experience is cozy with two, but is invariably more fun with three or four. It’s unapologetically ’70s, but far more pleasure-inducing than other recent blasts from that past.
Whether you prefer to fondue it in public or in the privacy of your own home, we’ve got the downlow on the meltdown.
Several Westside spots are turning the heat up on the nascent craze. Joya pairs extensive wine and fondue offerings with deejays and a dance floor (the better to work it off, my dear). Scenic clientele fills the bi-level hotspot nightly; Hugh Hefner and a bevy of bunnies reportedly hold court on Fridays. In Hollywood, Vine serves cool, downtempo ambience in a den-like space.
The at-home m.o.? Williams-Sonoma sells home fondue sets, and top-Zagat-rated Cheese Store of Beverly Hills supplies Gruyere, Emmental, and other meltables.
Stoke up the sterno with the one you love. Or at least the one you’re with.
Joya, 242 N. Beverly Drive, at Wilshire, Beverly Hills, (310-274-4440). Fondue served Wednesday-Saturday nights. Call in advance for guest list inquiries and dinner reservations. 21 and over.
Vine, 1235 N. Vine Street between Fountain and Santa Monica, Hollywood, (323-960-0800). Tuesday-Sunday, 7 p.m.-2 a.m. 21 and over.
Williams Sonoma, 339 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, (310-274-9127). Call for special holiday hours, which vary by day through December.
The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, 419 N. Beverly Dr., between Little Santa Monica and Brighton, Beverly Hills, (310-278-2855 or 800-547-1515). Holiday season hours: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m.-5 p.m.
Fondue pots are available online from Williams-Sonoma.