Two weeks ago, Noah and I made the trek up to Frederick, Maryland to have dinner at Volt Restaurant for our 6 year dating anniversary. We don’t do Valentine’s Day, but this is the equivalent for us. Every year we go to a really nice restaurant and splurge on ourselves. The 21st of February is also the 6 month mark from our wedding anniversary so we celebrated 1.5 years of marriage as well. I had been wanting to go here for years (literally since Season 6 of Top Chef, featuring the Voltaggio brothers) and this was the perfect occasion for us to do so. And I got to cross it off my bucket list!
Noah booked us in the Chef’s Dining Room for the 7 course menu. This meant we were practically in the kitchen, able to see what the chefs were doing the whole time. Before we arrived, I was not-so-secretly hoping that we would see Bryan Voltaggio. It was just my luck that we did! He was cooking the whole time we were there and it was an awesome experience to see him in the flesh.
From the start, the service was excellent. Our waiter brought us water, took our drink orders and had some house made pretzel sticks on the table within minutes. The pretzel sticks were perfect. I wanted to take home a whole bag of them.
We each ordered from the Kitchen Menu, but anything that had meat in it they switched out for a dish on the Vegetable Menu.
The first thing to come out, an appetizer of sorts, was bizarre looking. To be honest, this was my least favorite dish of anything that we ate. The thing on the left tasted like what I would imagine an eye ball to taste like. I think it was an oyster ball of some sort. It was salty and slimy. In the middle is a radish macaroon with apple butter on the inside. I really liked that. On the right is a mushroom soup. Noah’s macaroon was filled with foie gras and his soup was lobster soup. I think my macaroon was better, based on what he said.
After we finished our first course, the waitress brought around a basket of several different kinds of bread. She explained what each bread was (I know one of them had bacon in it!) and let us choose which one we wanted. I chose a cheddar biscuit. The biscuit melted in my mouth. It was perfection.
Next up for me was Gnudi with sheep’s milk ricotta, lemon and broccoli rabe. The pasta was somewhat similar to gnocchi in texture. This was one of my favorite dishes. It was very rich in flavor. I loved the combination of the ricotta and the broccoli rabe. I didn’t want this course to end! While I was eating this, Noah had Kimchee soup with chicken thigh, quail egg and basil. He enjoyed that a lot. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of his food. However, we both had most of the same things except for a few dishes that they switched out for vegetarian ones for me.
After the gnudi and kimchee soup, Noah and I each had turbot with butternut squash, radish and brussel sprouts. The fish was cooked perfectly and went really well with the brussel sprouts and butternut squash.
The next dish was a ravioli with goat cheese, ash and parsley root. It was really rich and this was when I first started to feel full. I don’t think I finished all of it because my stomach was reaching its limit. But I still had a ways to go. It was really flavorful, but not my favorite thing. It also kind of looks like squid here, but I promise it tasted much better than it looks!
The next dish for me was Kohlrabi cheddar, radish and maroon carrots and for Noah it was sweetbreads, sunchokes, black kale and bacon. I really loved this dish. I had never had carrots that tasted this good. And have never thought about carrots and cheese together. But this somehow worked. Noah did not like his sweetbreads. He said the texture was what he would expect brains to be. The waiter didn’t think it was a big deal that Noah didn’t want to finish his plate.
By this point I was beyond full. And since I was eating so much, I was drinking water like a fish. And getting up to pee every 5 minutes. And every time I got to sneak a closer peek at Chef Voltaggio! I was definitely a little star struck. But I acted normal and didn’t even ask for his autograph!
Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of either of our final courses. Which were the best ones too!! Maybe I didn’t need to take a picture because the taste will forever be in my mind. I had the Maitake steel cut oats with sea greens and Noah had the Beef chard with mashed potatoes and gold ball turnips. Oh my goodness was this good. The steel cut oats were very similar to a mushroom risotto. Absolutely just melted on your tongue. Noah said his beef was the best cooked piece of meat he has ever had. And I can gladly say the mashed potatoes were easily the best ones I’ve ever had. Because I was so full at this point (this was technically course #6) I wasn’t able to finish my dish. I asked the waiter to box it up and was excited to have it for lunch the next day, but sadly left it at the restaurant!
Finally, we had dessert. It was peanut caramel ice cream with chocolate and marshmallow. It was crazy good. I could eat it every day.
As soon as we thought it was all over, they pulled out another stop. They gave us each a mini coffee cake to take home and eat for breakfast the next day! It was the perfect end to a great experience.
I have nothing but good things to say about Volt. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, there are some bizarre things on the menu that you may not like. But it’s worth it. The food is well thought out and perfectly executed. The service was impeccable. And one of my favorite parts was seeing Chef Voltaggio yell “Fuck!” in the middle of our meal. He was definitely yelling at one of the sous chefs, which was awkward for a second. But it made the experience that much more memorable. It was raw and much more reality like than a reality TV show. If you have the chance, I would definitely make a reservation here.