I’ll be the first to admit that one of the first things I did on the Internet when I got on it in the early 90’s was to find someone… ANYONE who could give me the recipe to the Captain’s Steak House Fondue.
I’m quite certain a Dan Brown novel could be written about the secrets and tactics taken to shield this recipe from present day viewing. A google search returns requests as early as 2005 searching for this recipe, and for all the searches, all the requests, the recipe has still not been unearthed.
That is why, when I read this article at OnMilwaukee that claims to have received THE recipe from the Marcus corporation from one of their archivists I went out and bought all the ingredients knowing full well the last thing I needed the day after Thanksgiving was a giant bowl of cheese into which I was going to dip bread…. But I did it anyway. Here is how it turned out:
I’m sorry to say that this isn’t the fondue recipe you are looking for.
I spent plenty of nights (along with my parents) at the Captain’s. I think there still might be a couple of pirate hats in my room for reasons we won’t get into here 🙂
I just made the fondue per this recipe, and I can tell you why it isn’t the right one.
- First, when the Captain’s fondue got cold, it would get a crust on top of it. A delicious thick crust. This stuff from this recipe, because of the velveeta, gets a thin film on it as you can see in the picture above.
- Second, the fondue that I made with this recipe had a good spice to it. I like spice now (as an adult), but if it really had that much spice in it as a child I would have complained about it being too spicy. I’m not sure I even knew what tobasco sauce was back then.
- Third, I don’t think there were black pepper flakes in the fondue that I was eating. I’m almost positive there wasn’t. I recall a fondue that was WAY less yellow than this. It was almost a dark cream color and there were no black pepper flakes in it.
- Lastly is the texture. The Captain’s fondue seemed to have flour in it, like it was a Béchamel that didn’t get cooked all the way through so there was still some fine grained texture to it. Because of the velveeta in this recipe it is a smooth processed texture. I was never a fan of processed cheese (kraft singles) or velveeta, so I can easily say that any recipe for Captain’s Fondue that calls for Velveeta is certainly setting off on the wrong foot. I would have rejected it as a kid, and I most certainly had gallons of this stuff in my childhood.
I recall A LOT about the Captain’s steak house. I had more of those curl up fish than fish in the actual ocean. I’m not sure which Captain’s we went to since I wasn’t driving, I was playing in the back of the station wagon without a seat belt. Maybe by Northridge or Southridge?
But when you walked in, the dining room was to the left with booths around the perimeter, then the salad bar was opposite the booths with tables in between. Beyond the salad bar was another wall with “windows” without any glass in them which had another dining room in it. I think there were stairs just to the left of the entrance, and that was where the bathrooms were. The bar was in straight and maybe to the right. I was young, so I never bothered going in there.
I recall the glasses were some kind of brown color, and the beer was served (to my Dad) in a big ol’ mug.
Oh, and the Salad Boat. Sure it had all the fixings, but the best part was 2/3 the way down when you got to cut your own slices of bread off of either the white or totally dark loaf (I was a kid so I always choose the white), and the fondue was in 1 of 3 soup holding containers. The other being French Onion, and then maybe a soup of the day?
I seem to also think that there were crunchy chips on the salad boat and not just the bread. I’d get a cup of those chips along with a cup of that fondue. Oh, and don’t forget the cracker sticks. 2 to a package. Sesame, plain, and garlic.
Anyway, I really do hope the fine folks at Marcus Corp can dive back into their archives for the real recipe as made in the commissary, If they need a boost, I bet they could Kickstarter the effort to go find it, and get it funded to the tune of several thousand dollars. Many people I’ve seen over the years would easily dump out their wallet & purse for a cup of that magical & wondrous fondue.
Now excuse me as I throw a half gallon of this weird velveeta fondue into the trash.