Route 54’s newest restaurant aims to introduce people to the art of fondue without dipping too deeply into their wallets. Simmer Time offers people a cozy dining atmosphere to enjoy dunking their favorite foods or snacking on others.
“Do you like cheese, meat and chocolate? How can you go wrong?” said Mike Gable, executive chef.
People can dive in with “The Full Monty,” a three-course fondue, starting with a cheese pot, flavored with horseradish cheddar, garlicky lemon Gruyère or more. The middle course is a protein, such as chicken, steak, salmon, lobster claw or bean curd. The meat is served in raw medallions, which diners quickly cook themselves, in a pot of au jus or house-made stock.
Dessert is a chocolate pot, flavored with peanut butter, caramel, jalapeño or anything else, accompanied by fresh fruit, marshmallows and other sweets.
The food simply stays warm on tabletop burners while dinners dip and dine.
“It’s really comfortable up here. The waiter comes and prepares the chocolate for two minutes. Then you’re alone for 20 minutes,” said Gable. “This is not fast food.”
Since opening two months ago, Simmer Time has already hosted birthdays, anniversaries and a marriage proposal.
“It’s an interactive social experience,” said DuPont, because dinner might last a leisurely two hours.
“You sit here, and you just tricked the kids into spending quality time with you,” Gable joked.
For those intimidated by fondue, people can order entrées that require knife and fork, then try a cheese pot appetizer or chocolate dipping dessert.
Besides freshly made rice bowls, cooked with the diner’s choice of vegetables and protein, there’s a full selection of appetizers and entrées, plus a buffet from 3:30 to 7 p.m.
“There’s so many ways to attack this menu,” DuPont said.
Gable just added homemade bread to the menu, which means mini pizzas, crab-melts and honey butter sesame bread.
“Nobody has this. I know, because I make it in the back. You can’t get this from Sysco,” said Gable, referencing the restaurant food distributor.
Gable brings cooking experience from Baltimore, Md., and managing experience from Seacrets in Ocean City, Md. Though he never attended a formal cooking school, Gable’s kitchen adventures gave him the experience he needed. He now trains other students.
“He’s the missing link we needed,” said bar manager Randy DuPont. “He makes me eat things I never ate my entire life, and made them melt in my mouth.”
Those dishes can spice up the menu for pro football on Sunday, when games are shown on big-screen televisions and projected onto a massive wall. Live bands can perform on a balcony above diners, so music fills the air, but not overwhelmingly. Bar specials include Friday Ladies’ Night half-price specials, plus daily happy hour featuring $1 drink specials from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m.
In the future, Simmer Time hopes to add a “Bar Olympics,” with darts, corn hole and beer pong.
Simmer Time opens daily at 4:30 p.m., with future plans for a lunch hour. For more information, contact Simmer Time at (302) 436-2266 or on Facebook. Reservations are preferred. The restaurant is located next to Mio Fratello at 38018 Fenwick Shoals Boulevard in Selbyville.