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“Very good, very expensive”
Review of Volt

Volt
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Ranked #17 of 404 Restaurants in Frederick
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Between 2nd and 3rd Street
Description: VOLT offers guests a menu of modern American cuisine. The focus of our cuisine is based on classic flavor combinations, creating sophisticated dishes that emphasize purity and seasonal flavors that are based on fundamental and innovative cooking techniques. VOLT's relationship with local artisan farmers ensures availability of products to fulfill the philosophy behind the menu, in a refined, historic venue where classic meets modern. By design, the restaurant follows along the original footprint of the mansions first floor parlors. Both the 38 seat main dining room and the bar/lounge open off the foyer. The original mosaic tile in the foyer was the inspiration behind the warm monochromatic color palette that adorns the finishes in VOLT. Private dining can be hosted in the conservatory offering views of the expansive courtyard. The 700 square foot kitchen afforded space to include up to 20 guests.
MD
Level 6 Contributor
109 reviews
73 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Very good, very expensive”
Reviewed August 1, 2014

Had the tasting menu $95. for 6 courses. Main course, Lamb was not good. Fatty. Several bottles of wine. Definitely knew what they were talking about wine wise. Crowded together inside.
Patio was delightful. $1,000. for 4.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank fairytalesinmotion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Washington, DC
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Volt - Frederick, MD”
Reviewed July 30, 2014

Scrolling through the Washington, DC Zagat Guide last Saturday morning I was stunned to find that 2 of the top 10 and 4 of the top 50 restaurants in the DC area are in Frederick, Maryland. Making the pilgrimage to The Inn at Little Washington is one thing, but really, Frederick, MD, best known as the home of the nation’s bio-warfare labs at Fort Detrick. That was a shocker. With DC in the full throes of the foodie revolution, we wondered how Frederick could make such a strong showing?

We had to see this for ourselves, so off to Frederick for lunch at what Zagat says is DC’s No.6 restaurant – Volt. It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for a drive in the country. Frederick is exactly 51 miles from the Washington Monument and with different routes to choose from we took the more scenic drive up River Road, along the Potomac, instead of the 270 freeway.

Approaching Frederick from the river takes you through miles of nothing but farmland dotted with a few really small towns. Well, not really towns. More like a few buildings at a cross road. The outskirts of the city has the same retail and fast food sprawl you see everywhere, but the city center itself seems to have been transformed by the money that has poured into the Washington, DC metro area over the past 15 years. Market Street Frederick gave up trying to meet the shopping and service needs of the city long ago, abandoning that to the outlying retail stores. Now the city center is a virtual restaurant row with the expected trendy shops. Volt’s own website describes the Frederick historic district as “hundreds of specialty stores, antique shops, bed and breakfasts and restaurants”. I don’t know about hundreds but that description is pretty close to the mark. Whether you like these cutesie-type downtown areas or have had enough of this trend with it’s $6.00 cups of coffee and $5.00 cupcakes, on a sunny afternoon in July it all makes for a nice presentation.

In just a short walk from our parking garage we passed three of Frederick’s top rated restaurants: The Tasting Room, Isabella’s, and of course, Volt.

Having done almost no research except reading a few diner’s reviews the first thing you realize is that this isn’t just any small restaurant in out of the way Frederick. Volt is the creation of superstar chef Bryan Voltaggio, who just happens to live in – you guessed it – Frederick. So pretty good luck there. The restaurant itself is in an old brick brownstone with a stylin’ decor and several options for seating. Although we couldn’t touch a table for Saturday night, brunch, including our choice of seating, was no problem at two on a Saturday afternoon.

We’re greeted by a kid (all in black of course) who looks to be about fifteen, with perfect Justin Beiber knock-off hair, but he’s very nice and has no problem letting us look around before deciding where we’d like to sit. We choose the outdoor courtyard because even though it’s hot there’s plenty of shade and a nice summer breeze. A great spot for al fresco dining which we always prefer. Maybe it is mid-July but we’re still warming up from the horrible DC winter of 2014.

If outside’s not your thing or the weather isn’t cooperating, Volt has a very nice dining room, separate Chef’s Kitchen seating with a view of the cooking in progress, and for dinner the so-called Table 21 which seats eight and not only lets you watch the cooking but throws in a 21 course tasting menu. There’s also a good size bar and I thought it was a nice touch that the TV was showing a live feed of the chef’s at work in the kitchen. No question who the star is here and it’s not the Saturday Game of the Week.

Volt, at least for our visit, is all about one of dining’s popular trends, the Tasting Menu. For brunch you have two choices, five courses selected by the chef, or a smaller three course menu which gives you a little of the a la carte feel by letting you design your own tasting menu.

While we’re on the subject, let me digress a moment. One of the few negative reviews we read before we headed to Volt (I confess I’m always drawn to the few people who trash even the best restaurants) had small portion size as it’s principal complaint. OK can I just say that whether you like the concept or not this is a TASTING MENU, defined by Wikipedia as a menu that offers “small portions of several dishes as a single meal”. Emphasis on the small. So be warned, if you’re looking for that 22 oz. steak or a huge bowl of pasta, you might want to give that some serious thought before selecting Volt. Or go for dinner when I think there are more a la carte options and the 21 course tasting menu. But again, lets face it, how big can a portion size be if there are 21 of them?

So we’re seated in the garden enjoying a glass of prosecco and a really fresh Bloody Mary. Very nice and a very relaxed setting. In fact, pretty ideal. I chose the five course tasting menu with paired wines and my wife got three courses so she could make some of her own picks.

Highlights were the amuse-bouche, a sort of round, crispy duck flavored cookie with a liquid center of foie gras, the pasta bolognese with a deep, rich sauce made from pepperoni stewed with roasted tomatoes, and the braised lamb with greek yogurt, which while not the most visually appealing dish, was tender and fantastic. Both fish courses were delicious with crispy skin and the inside perfectly done. I’m always impressed by perfectly done fish. Not that it shouldn’t always be. Just that too often it isn’t. In fact, the only disappointment was the green tomatoes which my wife compared to a corn dog; too much and too heavy a coating which didn’t allow any tomato flavor to come through.

Our servers at Volt were all young and trying really hard to live up to the restaurant’s name and the image of their celebrity boss. They are unfailingly friendly; none of that superior attitude you sometimes get. They were very attentive and although they seem at times to be struggling to memorize the food descriptions, it’s really nice to see what looks to be a group of local kids who are serious about what they’re doing and making every effort to see to it that you have a good dining experience. The high marks Volt gets for service reflect this attitude and are well deserved.

Finally, let’s talk price. Volt is not cheap. Let’s say about $100 per person for brunch depending on what you drink, and, as always, much more if you like expensive wine. The five course tasting menu is currently $55, plus $35 for the paired wine. Three courses are $35 which I think is a pretty good deal. Dinner is considerably more expensive, so lunch is a good way to give Volt a try. Too much? Only you can decide. All the prices are shown on the online menu so it’s easy to do some figuring in advance without getting sticker shock once you’re actually at the table.

One last item. Even if you don’t usually indulge, definitely try the bread. It is fantastic.

All in all a fun day out and a wonderful dining experience. OK Frederick, we were impressed and we’ll be going back. Sorry we doubted you.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
6 Thank Boodus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Herndon, Virginia
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Bucket List”
Reviewed July 28, 2014

We went to Volt for our anniversary. It is worth the trip if you are looking for a culinary experience. The plates are small and very artistic. We did the tasting menu (1 vegetarian and 1 not) with the wine pairings. All the dishes were excellent. Some of the wine pairings were hard to hear based on which staff presented the wine - not sure if it was the acoustics or if they were mumbling. I believe this is a "bucket list" event and once you go and experience the specialty of Volt, you can check it off your list. For a very special event, we may return to Volt, but perhaps we will visit Chef Voltaggio's other restaurants.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Virginia20170
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burlington, Vermont
Level 5 Contributor
65 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Fantastic meal, wonderful service”
Reviewed July 28, 2014

WOW! This was one of the best meals I have ever eaten. We all ate off the tasting menu and it was simply one delight after another. Each dish was tiny, perfect and featured roasting, pickling or searing each ingredient separately to bring out the flavors. This sounds like it could have been busy, but it wasn't - it was just fantastic. The first course I had featured roasted grapefruit combined with a delicate fish and other ingredients that made the whole thing come together perfectly. I could have stopped right there! But each course built on that. Each dish had its unique flavor and ingredients but followed beautifully from the previous one. Three of us had the "meat-featured" tasting menu and one had the "vegetable-featured". I had a few tastes of the veggie one and it was just as fabulous. I need to avoid gluten and our server was very helpful communicating with the kitchen and making sure that everything worked perfectly, giving me a substitution for one dish so that I actually had an item off the veggie menu (it was fabulous). She also managed to do it by communicating with me quietly rather than making a song and dance about it to the whole table, for which I was very grateful.

This is a very expensive place, but totally worth it for the food and the dining experience. We had a wonderful and special dinner that made driving all the way to Frederick worth it.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank JMVermont
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
Level 6 Contributor
111 reviews
84 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Amazing meal, well worth a drive to Frederick”
Reviewed July 26, 2014

This was one of the most memorable meals I have had in recent years. It started with a little "amuse bouche" which was light and delicate, like a mararon but with a savory sauce. Then followed four small courses, including a foie gras mousse, a lobster raviolo, a perfectly done halibut, and a chocolate dessert of several different types of chocolate. Everything was inventive, flavorful, and beautifully presented. The service was incredibly attentive, with our water glasses kept full, and a waiter coming to ask how we liked every course. It was a lovely summer night and we sat out on the patio. The only downside was that it got a bit buggy toward twilight.

I would definitely recommend Volt, especially for a big occasion, when you are in the mood for a lot of courses and are willing to spend the money.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank dcbird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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