Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Volt. Just the name alone calls to mind superheroes and great expectations. As if Thor from Adventures in Babysitting will miraculously appear carrying a tray of canapes loaded with caviar, creme fraiche and lobster. But no. It is just a well-disciplined, highly technical chef named Bryan Voltaggio. You likely remember Bryan as the runner up in last season's Top Chef, where the only person he lost to was his younger brother. I bet Thanksgiving at the Voltaggio house is a lot of fun.

The sleek interior of the inside of Volt is even more striking when you consider it is locale, a red bricked, former dental office on the main drag of downtown Frederick, Md. Las Vegas, New York, or Los Angeles this is is not. But the food at Volt would be top notch in any town in America. While Lindsay and I did not get the chance to eat dinner and completely devour his menu, we stopped in for a round of drinks and some bar snacks. A Manhattan for Lindsay and a Negroni for myself, both excellent, started things on a strong note. I especially liked the boozy local cherry (read here: not Maraschino) at the bottom of Lindsay's.

While watching the bartender mix our cocktails, we couldn't help but stare at Chef Voltaggio. Not in person, mind you, but on the large flat screen tv over the bar which had a direct feed into the kitchen. There, Chef Voltaggio and his crew prepped for the evening's dinner service while serving lunch as well. Must see TV for sure. This again, is another invention of Thomas Keller, who has used closed-circuit TVs in his French Laundry and per se to better monitor his kitchens when he isn't there.

This is a ravioli stuffed with local goat cheese on a puree of carrot with maitake mushrooms and a spiced air. The flavor of this dish evoked fall - hearty foods, root vegetables, pumpkin spices. The ravioli were thin and just barely contained the tart goat cheese.

This was Lindsay's bar snack; a rice paper roll stuffed with juicy tuna tartare, a dollop of caviar, a cardamon air, and a sesame lavash (Persian for cracker looking thing). Very well executed with each miniscule cube of tuna bathed in a delicate, slightly citrus tinted sauce. Good eating, for sure.

If you ever find yourself in downtown Frederick, Md., you owe it to yourself to stop into Volt and get a jolt of fine dining. Cause let's face it, if Bryan Voltaggio had been on this season, Angelo would have conspired to throw him off weeks ago.

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