This Christmas, my mom surprised my family with a reservation at Volt. My brother (along with the entire Maryland, DC, Virginia area) had been dying to try this place ever since Bryan Voltaggio was the runner up on season 6 of Top Chef. Volt is located in Frederick, Voltaggio’s hometown, about an hour west of Baltimore, inhabiting an old mansion right in the center of town.
The decor is minimal and true to the original architecture of the building. We were sat in a dining room overlooking the street, there were huge windows that filled the room with natural light. There is also a private dining area in a greenhouse room that overlooks the courtyard and a dining room that looks into the open kitchen.
From the moment we walked in the door the service was impeccable, every action was calculated and perfected. There was an effortlessness to it that made it so fun, and the servers didn’t take themselves too seriously, they were all wearing chuck taylors!
It was obvious that Volt puts a major emphasis on the origin of its ingredients. Starting with the butter, which we were told was from a creamery in Vermont, we knew this was going to be epic. The butter was really creamy but had this course texture at the same time, we got to try it with our choice of olive bread, buttermilk biscuit and rosemary bread.
For lunch we were given a choice between a 3 course menu with 3-5 options per course, or a 5 course tasting menu where all menu items were chosen for us. We chose the 3 course so we could try as many different dishes as possible. Choosing just one from each section was impossible, everything sounded superb. I was really surprised by the prices, for lunch the three course menu was only $25 per person. Along with the 3 course menu, there was also an optional cheese course ($7 for 6 cheeses) and a beverage pairing with each course ($15), both of which we ordered.
Yellowfin Tuna Tartare: jasmine rice, chili oil, petite cilantro, wasabi whitefish roe
This was where it became obvious how big of a roll texture plays at Volt. I didn’t watch Voltaggio’s season of top chef, but apparently that was one of his big focuses. My brother kept talking about all the different molecular gastronomy techniques in each dish. The tuna dish had crunchy, chewy, bubbly, smooth, and crispy textures, it was unbelievable. The tuna was so fresh and the sauce was slightly tangy and paired perfectly.
Cherry Glen Farm Goat Cheese Ravioli: butternut squash, maitake mushrooms, sage air
Before even getting into this dish there are a couple things to mention: I love the farm shoutout in the name of the dish and I love the design of the bowl (I wanted to own a set of every type of plate that we had). The butternut squash sauce was a nice mix of light and rich. The homemade ravioli was perfectly al dente and the sage air lends another unique texture to the dish. Also maitake might be me new favorite mushroom. Sorry, chanterelles.
After tasting this, part of me wishes I had ordered it. (Ah but the tuna…nevermind!) It was like liquid mushrooms, smooth and earthy.
Perfectly tender and juicy, one of the best steaks I have ever had. The potatoes were cut really small, which really makes the steak the star of the show but I wished there was more potatoes.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to taste this, but only good things were reported.
I didn’t get a chance to try this one either, but just look at the sear on the scallops, its gorgeous! And I like that it looks like Saturn. Seafood Saturn! And there are three different textures of cauliflower in this dish, dehydrated on the far right, puree on the bottom and chopped and roasted (maybe?) cauliflower on right.
The cheese course made me happy we opted for the 3 course meal instead of the 5 course. It was perfect :).
This must be a new item because the description is not online. I’ll do my best, its an apple crisp with mascarpone gelato. Best apple crisp ever. Everyone who ordered this dessert thought they had ordered best. I think I won though, read on…
Again with the textures! Amazing.
And for the grand finale:
textures of chocolate dark chocolate ganache, chocolate caramel, raw organic cocoa
This is what I got, and I could not have been happier. It might be my favorite dessert ever, definitely my favorite dish from Volt (and I never pick dessert over apps and entrees) 7 different textures of chocolate in the same dish. Good lord.
One of the most amazing things about the experience was the timing of the service. Whenever one course came out, the waiters gave each other a head nod and placed all the plates in front of us at the exact same time! It was impressive.
Also the beverage pairing was a nice touch, I got a light white wine with the tuna, a cabernet/merlot blend with the steak, a beer with the cheese course and a sweet red wine with the chocolate. All paired perfectly, and $15 for 4 medium sized drinks really isn’t a bad deal.
Volt receives the highest compliments in my book. Check if out if you ever find yourself in the middle of Maryland!