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December 4, 2011

L-Dogs (aka my dad) works in the food industry, and he serves many of the best local restaurants in and around the Baltimore area. Out of all these restaurants, perhaps his best-known customer is Top Chef’s Bryan Voltaggio and his critically acclaimed restaurant, Volt.

Ever since my dad took Bryan on as a client, he’s raved about Volt–the food, the atmosphere, the entire experience. And, also ever since he took Bryan on as a client, I have been begging him to take me there to experience it myself. So when L-Dogs asked if I would like a lunch at Volt for my Chanukah gift this year, I obviously jumped at the chance.

I liked Volt before I even walked inside. The building, formerly known as the Houck Mansion, is a beautiful piece of architecture that fits perfectly in quaint, historic downtown Frederick. The inside was clean, modern, and streamlined. I was also a big fan of the TV at the bar that shows live footage of the chefs in the kitchen.

Right when we were seated, Dad and I ordered sparkling water and enjoyed the most delicious biscuits I have ever tasted. They were flaky, buttery perfection.

For our meals, we settled on the three course tasting menu. For my first course, I ordered the cavatelli with broccoli, preserved lemon, prosciutto, and sheep’s milk ricotta. Dad ordered the carnaroli risotto with butternut squash, rock shrimp, and sea beans. I was feeling a little camera-shy at this point, so I didn’t get a picture of them, but they were both outstanding.

By the second course, I was over feeling camera-shy (it might have had something to do with my dad goading me endlessly to finally just get my camera out), and I’m glad I did. For our second course, we both ordered the pork loin with a bean cassoulet, turnip, and braised greens.

The presentation was impeccable (a theme we saw throughout the meal), and the pork was as tender as butter. I was embarassingly “mmmm”-ing after each bite. I rarely order pork (and I’ve only cooked it once on my own), but this was a very, very good choice.

We were expecting our desserts to come next, when all of a sudden these were put in front of us:

Um. That’s not chocolate?

Turns out that Graham (the chef d’cuisine) had plans to take care of us and sent us a sample of the lamb we saw him slicing when we stopped into the kitchen to say hello before our meal. Again, this meat was as tender as butter and was juicy and flavorful to boot. The cauliflower it was served with was perfectly seasoned. What an unexpected but very welcome addition to our meal!

While we waited for our desserts, Dad and I ordered a small pot of almond tea. Look how beautiful:

Graham took care of us one more time and sent out a small cheese plate for us to sample. Strong cheeses aren’t really my thing, but I had to admit that these were outstanding. I particularly enjoyed the hard parmesan (second from the left).

Right after the cheese plate, our desserts arrived. I rolled with the textures of chocolate:

and Dad ordered the goat cheese cake:

As much as I love chocolate, I was all over that goat cheese cake. It was the smoothest, most flavorful cheesecake I have ever tasted in my life, and the addition of almond and pear were spot on. We shared these desserts, but I think I ended up eating more of Dad’s than my own. No shame.

On our way out, we were treated to two small bags of house made seasonal granola, tossed with almonds and dried fruits. A perfect ending to a wonderful experience.

Overall, I could not have been happier with our meal or the experience at Volt. The food was spectacular, the ambiance was beautiful, and the service was attentive and welcoming. Thanks for the idea, Dad. I think we’ve just started a new Chanukah tradition!


10 Comments leave one →
  1. December 4, 2011 6:13 pm

    You are totally living my dream right here. I love both Voltaggios, but have such a soft spot for Brian whom I lovingly referred to as “the nice irish twin” for most of their season. This meal looks incredible and what a lovely tradition you’ve started!

    • December 4, 2011 6:21 pm

      He was opening his new lunch restaurant (LunchBox), so he didn’t prepare our meal, but we did walk over to LunchBox so I could meet him. What a great, talented guy. I was a little bit in love with him the entire season, and when I found out he’s one of my dad’s clients, I may or may not have had a major fan-girl freak out. If you’re ever in the Baltimore area, I highly, highly suggest checking it out for yourself!

  2. actorsdiet permalink
    December 4, 2011 7:45 pm

    i recently went to “ink sack” in LA which is the casual sandwich version of michael’s restaurant. very impressive!

  3. December 4, 2011 9:54 pm

    i want to try almond tea! that part intrigues me the most!

    • December 5, 2011 12:44 pm

      It actually came from a tea shop right down the street from the restaurant. It was so. good.

  4. allison permalink
    December 4, 2011 10:15 pm

    There is a great goat cheesecake at a place called Cork right in between my apartment and Evan’s – we’ll need to go on one of your visits!

  5. December 8, 2011 6:56 am

    Hmmm, it all sounds so delicious!

  6. Evan permalink
    December 9, 2011 8:58 pm

    Let me recap: Dad poked his head in the kitchen pre-meal in a shameless and transparent attempt to score some free stuff? Weird. That’s very out of character.

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