Review: Volt

Business has been booming and reservation books have been maxed out at Volt, Chef Bryan Voltaggio’s Frederick, MD restaurant located right in the middle of downtown. His restaurant’s notoriety exploded as the chef climbed Bravo TV’s Top Chef Season 6 ladder, only losing in the end to his brother, Michael.

Sol's Birthday 2010

After making reservations 2 months in advance, our group was excited to eat Sunday lunch at Volt.

Their prix fixe menus offered a good range of flavors to try (3 courses), where their tasting menu (5 courses) offered even more. The all-brick building appears very grand from the outside, with a staircase leading up to the front door where “VOLT” is emblazoned over the doorway. Once inside the more contemporary foyer, guests are ushered to their seats – ours were in the front “white” room along the banquette.

Sol's Birthday 2010

The servers were all wearing the trademark brown Chucks with dark jeans and brown dress shirt. This look is unmistakable and very comforting against the white-table cloth backdrop.

Sol's Birthday 2010

A quick note about the drinks. get the iced tea or lemonade or an arnold palmer (1/2 and 1/2 of the two).  The tea comes out unsweetened (but we agreed there was a hint of peach flavor) but with a little shot of simple syrup or agave sweetener on the side. Very thoughtful as well as excellent presentation. They also have unique cocktails as well, one of our friends got a cucumber martini that was surprisingly tasty and refreshing.

Sol's Birthday 2010

I got the tasting menu (which was worth every penny), but I’ll include pictures from everything the table ate.

Sol's Birthday 2010

Fennel and sea salt breadstick – tasty bite with the hint of anise flavor with a neutral crunchy breadstick

Sol's Birthday 2010

Beet macaroon – not a macaron, but did have a crispy outside with a savory creamy filling. This amuse-bouche was a nice palate cleanser.

Sol's Birthday 2010

Goat Cheese Ravioli with mushrooms and savory herb foam – These handmade raviolis were delicious with super-creamy goat cheese filling.

Sol's Birthday 2010

Tuna Tartare with wasabi pearls – the tartare was wrapped with the rice-paper and topped with some molecular-gastronomy-inspired wasabi pearls.

Sol's Birthday 2010

Frozen gazpacho, cilantro sauce, sour cream molecular gastronomy balls, with heirloom tomatoes – The gazpacho was frozen and had the texture of a traditional granita (granite), very refreshing and tasty!

Sol's Birthday 2010

Buttery biscuit with chive – my favorite of the bread selection (they had a traditional french roll and an olive bread roll)

Sol's Birthday 2010

Skate with gnocchi – skate might be my new favorite fish. It’s not flaky like sea bass, but its got a more meaty texture to it.  It’s hard to describe, but it reminded me somewhat of the shark meat I had in San Diego.

Sol's Birthday 2010

Braised chicken with rainbow carrots – this might have been the most moist chicken I’ve ever tasted.  It was incredibly juicy and the meat melted in your mouth.

Sol's Birthday 2010

Beef tenderloin with fava beans – although I thought the tenderloin was delicious and well-cooked, it was surprisingly the least stand-out of the whole menu.  Don’t get me wrong, tenderloin and fava beans are a classic which were cooked perfectly at Volt, but I thought other dishes (like the skate) out-shone this.

Sol's Birthday 2010

Cheese plate – four generous samples of cheeses ranging from a mild brie-like, aged white cheddar, blue-veined variety, and a parmesan-type.

Sol's Birthday 2010

Cheesecake with berry cannelle – this wasn’t my dessert, but what a perfect cannelle!

Sol's Birthday 2010

Coconut Mousse – again, not my dessert, but note the generous use of foam throughout the dishes 🙂

Sol's Birthday 2010

Textures of chocolate – chocolate nibs, chocolate ganache, chocolate crisp, chocolate ice cream, and dark chocolate sauce.  This was an intense plate of various chocolate textures. my favorites were the chocolate crisp and the chocolate nibs – definitely a great end of the meal!

After the meal, we asked the waitress if the Chef had a minute for us to say hi and to see the rest of the restaurant. We were walked back towards the kitchen, passing by the private dining room that had a backyard view.

Sol's Birthday 2010

In the open-designed kitchen, there was a sit-down bar on one side where guests would sit at the “chef’s table” with reservation (over 1 year in advance).

Sol's Birthday 2010

We were able to say hi to the chef and snap a couple pictures as well. From the looks of things there were TONS of people in the kitchen, maybe 10-12 people who were all working – I can’t imagine what it must be like having that many bodies, knives, heating elements, and food in such a tight spot.

Group with Bryan Voltaggio

Group with Chef – I was surprised the Bryan is still in the kitchen cooking, I would have thought the notoriety and fame would have him out of the kitchen planning menus and writing books. its nice to see he’s still working in the kitchen to continue his dream.

Anyway, make a reservation. wait your 2 months, then come enjoy the prix fixe menu at Volt. it’s worth the drive and the price.  The food will amaze you with a wide variety of vaguely familiar flavors with a heavy dose of molecular gastronomy to get stimulate your brain.  For some unique food that’s a little out of the way from DC proper, Volt is a top destination choice.

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One Comment

  1. Sabs
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Great pics Wade Chi! I’m going again, but for dinner. Yum!

One Trackback

  • By Table 21 – Volt | Wade Chi on August 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    […] can read about my first trip to Volt and how great it was. I was itching for another opportunity to go again. my friend invited me to go […]

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