Sunday, March 27, 2011

A quest for ski pants turns into great food in Frederick?!?

                                                                                                                          Volt Restaurant

Yesterday started out as a trek out to the Hagerstown outlets in the hopes of finding ski pants for my upcoming vacation.  Due to a couple people maybe possibly being hung-over, we decided to stop in Frederick for lunch first.  Thinking we would just find a place with decent food that could re-energize us, we headed down Market Street of downtown Frederick.  Shocked with how cute the town now is, and how far it’s come in the past several years, we quickly changed gears and decided we needed a really good meal.  Where else would we find that in Frederick than at Top Chef runner-up Bryan Voltaggio’s Volt (  We were worried they weren’t open for lunch or that they would be booked, but were pleased to learn that they not only were open, but they had a reasonably priced prix fixe menu and we could eat at the bar.  Score!

We started with cocktails and a cheese plate, because umm, isn’t that what everyone does on a Saturday afternoon?  The cheese plate was excellent and beautifully presented with drizzles of oil and sprinklings of micro-greens.  It came with 5 cheeses, all of which were great – Monocacy Ash (soft goat), Midnight Moon (amazing hard goat cheese that only runs, ohh, about $25/lb at your local Harris Teeter), an aged Wisconsin Cheddar, Taleggio and last but not least, a deliciously creamy Ewe’s Blue.  Perfect start.

My first of three courses was a cavatelli pasta with ham, broccoli rabe and parmesan….oh my god… good.  I could have eaten a huge bowl of just that and been ridiculously happy.  The fresh rolls were also amazing – mine was olive rosemary.  A couple others had buttermilk chive biscuits that also looked great.

Course two was grilled rockfish with forbidden black rice and mixed sautéed carrots.  The fish was perfectly cooked, though admittedly a little bland (could be due to the fact that I didn’t eat the crispy skin which was just too “fishy” for me).  The rice was creamy and delicious.  A friend had the pork tenderloin and I was lucky enough to get a few bites…..I think I’d choose that one next time – yum.

Finally course three, and ahem – cocktail three also, was a honeycrisp apple tarte tatin with mascarpone gelato.  Back to another oh my god….it was absolutely perfect.  The apple was soft and warm and cinnamony, and if you know me, you know I LOVE cinnamon.  There were even some delicious little blobs of caramel and cinnamon sauce on the plate to swirl everything around in.  Wow.

A French press of coffee afterwards was the perfect end to an unexpectedly awesome meal. 

A couple other things about Volt – the bartender Benjamin was great, super personable and definitely entertaining.  There is a TV above the bar showing a live feed from the kitchen where Bryan himself was cooking and plating each and every entrée.  For an obsessive foodie like me, that was very cool.  He keeps an insanely clean and organized kitchen and watching him work was mesmerizing.  Volt – I’ll be back for sure.

Oh and by the way – did we make it to Hagerstown?  Heck no, but I did find ski pants at a shop down the street – way to go Frederick!