Dmly lit, with cozy booths and jazz pulsing through the stereo, The Melting Pot oozes romance as much as it does cheese. (It’s a fondue restaurant). But that intimacy factor also makes it an ideal spot for gal pals to hide away from the world, dip fondue forks into sinful pools of cheese and chocolate, and gab the night away. This explains, I’m sure, why the smart folks at The Melting Pot concocted a monthly event designed for that very purpose. Ladies’ Night Out, which happens on the first Thursday of every month at the Sacramento location, offers an elaborate three-course meal and some drink specials, too.

When my friend Vanessa and I arrived for the occasion and were escorted to an uber-private booth in the back of the restaurant, I knew immediately I was going to be a happy camper. Call me old school, but one of the things that drives me battiest about today’s restaurant scene is the preponderance of loud, thumping music played at such obnoxious volume that I wish I were carrying a microphone to facilitate communication. At The Melting Pot, it’s about comfort on every level, with cushy booth seating and literally no din from other diners. Sweet.

But what about the food, you ask? In a word, tasty—and very, very filling. By the time we plowed through our first-course cheese fondue, served with chunks of apple, bread cubes and raw vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots), I was already feeling satiated. Then came the entree: tender chunks of beef (filet mignon and teriyaki-marinated sirloin), shrimp, chicken and ravioli, served with our choice of cooking sauce (we had the Mojo, a Caribbean-seasoned bouillon), plus veggies (including mushrooms and fingerling potatoes) and several fun dipping sauces.

Next came dessert. Really? While chocolate fondue is indeed alluring, I had only a few small tastes of the strawberries, bananas, red velvet pound cake and other goodies poised for dipping.

Rule 1: If you’re doing Ladies’ Night Out, invite a friend who isn’t counting calories.

Rule 2: She shouldn’t be counting her pennies, either: The Melting Pot isn’t cheap. The ladies’ night meal runs $38 per person (including tax and gratuity)—which, given the quality and quantity of food, the upscale ambiance and excellent service—is actually a pretty fair deal. But inexpensive? No.

Still, as to the more important question of whether I’d make a return visit, the answer is a definitive “yes.”—Cathy Cassinos-Carr