The Volstead’s Milk Chocolate Fondue is Awesome

Date May 6, 2008

Milk Chocolate Fondue. Wow. I’ve been down on fondue since the Artisanal disaster but The Volstead changed that by providing cubes of Rice Krispy Treats and fudge infused pound cake, sliced strawberries and bananas, and whole blackberries for dipping. Grilled pizza, tasty hummus, and sliced steak and creamed spinach bites rounded out a solid meal in a sexy atmosphere. The Volstead’s upping their stock further by offering free lunch Tuesdays all May to readers of Midtown Delicious photos and the low down after the jump.

Cigarette-smoking finance workers greeted me as I entered The Volstead. I immediately thought I was in for a pretentious and expensive night. And while $7 Heinekens and $10 glasses of Chardonnay uphold the expensive concept, the eating experience turned out to be relaxed and affordable thanks to the diverse offering of small plates which weren’t very small at all.

We started with Buffalo Chicken Pops ($11), Fried Mac & Cheese Pops ($10), and Hummus with Olives and Warm Flatbread ($10).

You can skip both varieties of pops. The Chicken reminded me of elementary school cafeteria nuggets while the Buffalo sauce tasted buttery and cheesy without even a hint of spice. The Fried Mac & Cheese Pops were generic and bland, a waste of stomach space, especially considering how delicious the Hummus was.

The large portion size of the Hummus really validates its $10 price tag. A drizzle of olive oil melded perfectly with the flavors of the chick peas, cumin, and lemon, the last of which subtly shone through every bite. An extra portion of flatbread ($1) nearly got us through the entire bowl.

The Sliced Steak with Creamed Spinach ($19) was also well worth the price. Drops of horseradish mayo crowned thin slices of medium rare char-broiled steak resting on top of twenty pieces of toasted French bread smeared with creamed spinach. These one-bite beauties were delicious. The steak was tender and flavorful, and the bread was addictively crisp.

Unbeknownst to me, while awaiting my bacon cheeseburger, my friend ordered the Grilled Pizza of the day ($11). The long rectangular pizza may have been the most delicious appetizer of all. Each of the 10 rectangluar slices was crisp on the edges and soft in the middle and covered with chopped tomato, garlic, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella.

If I knew how light, fresh and delicious the pizza was, I’d have ordered it as an entree instead of the Bacon Cheeseburger ($12.00 with cheese + $1 for bacon).

Although grilled over an open flame before being tossed into the oven to melt the cheese, this burger took a hit as a result of the bready, untoasted brioche bun. I’ve come to the conclusion that only the finest brioches do not need to be buttered and grilled. Mediocre brioche like this masks the flavor of the other ingredients.

I ordered the burger medium rare and it arrived closer to medium. The bacon was crisp, as ordered, but tasted like it had been hanging around for a while. The cheddar was bland and didn’t add any flavor, I’d opt for Monterey Jack. The burger is served with shredded Romaine lettuce and three slices of tomato sprinkled with salt and pepper. This odd spicing made the burger very salty so if you order bacon make sure you ask for no salt and pepper on your burger. The fries, served in a paper cone, were crispy and piping hot but of the generic skin on variety, nothing to make a fuss over despite their frites-like plating. During the 2nd half of my burger, I took off the lettuce and tomato and mixed a little mayo into my ketchup for an impromptu Russian dressing which complemented the burger well. In hindsight, I’d skip this burger next time in lieu of sharing the pizza, hummus, and sliced steak and so I could leave room for…

The Milk Chocolate Fondue ($14)!

This was by far the prize of the meal. The chocolate was warm and not overly sweet, leaving room for the Rice Krispy treats, pound cake, and fudgy marble cake to take over in the sugar department. Every side offering was fresh and delicious. If you’re smart you’ll take my pairing advice while dipping…

  1. Pair the Rice Krispy treat with the sliced banana
  2. Pair the Fudgy Marble Cake with the Sliced Strawberry

Dip, eat and enjoy!

Dinner and two drinks for 6 people ended up costing $45 each including tip, reasonable for a birthday celebration in Midtown, especially considering the wide array of delicious food each of us filled up on.

According to, The Volstead is the latest venture from the operators behind Tribe, Vig 27, Punch and Judy, and PS 450, so you have an idea of what you can expect. I was at The Volstead on a Thursday night. It was crowded with attractive and young professional men and women. Loud music blared from the speakers while the Yankees game was displayed on two flat screen TVs over the long, narrow bar. The remainder of the basement lounge/restaurant’s open space features tables, couches and a private room for small gatherings. I wouldn’t recommend The Volstead for a first date, it’s too loud for potentially uncomfortable conversation. The Volstead shines, however, when you’re with a group of people and you can share a multitude of small plates while enjoying good music and a casual atmosphere.

Dinner Menu

The Volstead

125 E. 54th St. nr. Lexington Ave.
New York, NY 10022

19 Responses to “The Volstead’s Milk Chocolate Fondue is Awesome”

  1. Celestialnyc said:

    jeez..totally overpriced food. i can make everything you order fraction of the cost…and i’m sure it’ll be more delicious then how they made it. We should have a NyFoodGuy throwdown!

  2. girl1 said:

    thanks for the heads up about this place- i work a few blocks south and think this is a great after work option!

    what a great list of small plates! too bad you didnt try the tilapia fish tacos… maybe I’ll check it out and let you know how they are

  3. Ulla said:

    The Sliced Steak with Creamed Spinach looks fantastic! My two favorite things grilled steak and spinach YUMMY!:)

  4. kingofketchup said:

    Celestial, what is this throwdown you speak of? If it involves humiliating NYCFoodGuy, I am 100% in…

  5. KOK said:

    wow king of ketchup you seem a little testy….unemployment must really be getting to you

  6. The NYC Food Guy said:

    As Will Ferrell said in “Old School”, “I love you but you’re crazy.” Making everything out of mayo doesn’t mean theyre better. Just kidding. I like the concept of an NY Food Guy throwdown. What do you have in mind?

    Welcome back. Nice to see you in the mix again. Definitely check out Volstead for lunch one of these days and let me know about the fish tacos. We almost got them but ended up passing. How’s the West Village food tour going without me?


    On top of your game as always. Lovely woman who loves sliced steak and creamed spinach. I hope your boyfriend appreciates you. Where’s the best steak and creamed spinach you’ve ever had?

    King of Ketchup,

    You’re an ass.


  7. kingofketchup said:

    odds on KOK being Lil NycFoodgirl?

  8. Lil NYC Food Guy said:

    I wouldn’t give you that satisfaction.

  9. Lil NYC Food Guy said:

    I wouldn’t give you that satisfaction. I’d say it was one of your other friends but I’m not sure you have any…

  10. Lil NYC Food Guy said:

    Sorry for the double post i pressed enter by accident before I had my chance to rip on you.

  11. Ulla said:

    haha! 🙂
    Whenever I am run down, I crave steak or spinach. It must be the iron.
    That place looks really good.
    I love how you have haters on your site, it must mean you are doing something right:)
    and to “Lil NYC Food Guy”why don’t you create your own blog? You are just jealous.

  12. The NYC Food Guy said:


    Thanks for the love. It’s been fun thus far.

    Lil NYC Food Guy isn’t jealous, he just likes to talk smack to King of Ketchup.

    Where’s the best steak you ever had?

  13. Ulla said:

    Oh, I must have read it wrong!
    You are right.
    I am going to sound immodest but the best steaks I have had I prepared and are from my dad’s beef. grilled with herb butter.
    i went to le halles and they have a wonderful hanger steak. but I am not much of a steak house kinda girl because i have access to steak from my parent’s farm. when i go out to eat i like to learn how to cook new things. i heard that you did not like the artisan restaurant. i was sorta thinking of going there to see how they handle the grassfed meat. what do you think?

  14. Lil NYC Food Guy said:

    Not that I’ve been to too many steakhouses in the city, but I’ve had Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse and Ruth Chris. Both were delicious, but the Porterhouse at Del Frisco’s was simply the best thing I’ve ever eaten. Tender, juicy, delicious and buttered (i believe), I really can’t imagine anything ever tasting better. I think a midtown steakhouse lunch tour might be in order this summer? Steak tips from Del Friscos and the Sliced NY Strip sandwich on garlic bread from Ruth Chris are some good options that I’ve already had.

  15. The NYC Food Guy said:


    Are we talking about the same place? Im talking about Artisanal Cheese. Im sure the steaks on your farm are ridiculously delicious. Would love to see that on your site.

    Lil NYC Food Guy,

    Brother, you’re nuts. If we do that, we’re splitting everything and going to both on one day. That way we split steak tips and a sandwich and get out with at least $1 in our wallets. Other than that, I love it.

  16. Ulla said:

    I think we are thinking the same place.
    I got their cheeses for Christmas. They were pretty intense. They messed up the order because I was supposed to get the french cheese selection but we got the American one, it was good. The cheddar was magnificent but really expensive. And they had a smoked blue cheese from Oregon that was WICKEDLY good. But there were a few others that were too artisanal. I mean I have an adventerious palate and love strong flavors but they were TOO rotten tasting. I will have to find that post of yours to see what you have to say. You should do your own fondue. It is really fun and easy. I am trying to develop grassfed beef recipes for my blog, it takes a while:)

  17. Midtown Lunch » Midtown Links (Free Lunch Edition) said:

    […] In anticipation of the Free Lunch at the Volstead, Lawrence posts about a Dinner he had there [NYC Food Guy] […]

  18. West Village Dessert: Roasting Plant, Batch & Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee « NYC Food Guy said:

    […] can never go wrong combining banana with Rice Krispies (as proven by The Volstead’s chocolate fondue) but in the case of this pudding, the deliciousness ended there.  The chalky and slightly sweet […]

  19. henry said:

    This is the place where real fondue is made!

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