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“Great comfort food with a twist!”
Review of Family Meal

Family Meal
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Ranked #19 of 398 Restaurants in Frederick
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $20 - $30
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Local cuisine, Families with children, Kids, Large groups
Dining options: Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Casual Dining
Description: Chef Bryan Voltaggio's modern American diner offers affordable all-day meals in a former Frederick car dealership transformed by clever design and raw, natural materials into an open, airy space, with a long counter fronting an open kitchen; its menu elevates the comfort-food canon, while adult beverages include boozy milkshakes as well as wine, beer and cocktails. Signature dishes include Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Biscuits, Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy and Duck Fat Fried Potatoes.
Potomac, Maryland
Level Contributor
143 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 196 helpful votes
“Great comfort food with a twist!”
Reviewed August 7, 2012

We're fans of Volt and Chef Voltaggio so had planned on wrapping-up our anniversary weekend with an overnight in Frederick and a nice meal at Volt. Sadly, the weather had different plans and Volt was without power so off to Family Meal we went.

Overall, we had a great meal, which I'd rate a 4.5 if TA allowed a half-point.

Started with the deviled eggs, home-made but with a touch of trout roe, bacon, sea salt. They were a bit on the salty side but creamy smooth and quite tasty nonetheless.

Highly recommend trying the Bee's Knees cocktail: a refreshing summer treat with a kick. Adult lemonade indeed! The Frisco Sour was also worth a try!

The fried chicken was the highlight of our 2 entrees--moist, crispy, pan fried and just like my Mom's especially when jazzed with a bit of Frank's hot sauce! The biscuits were more layered and pastry-like with a nice herbal touch, definitely NOT my Mom's buttermilk variety! The flat iron steak well cooked, nicely seasoned, and simply presented but as noted in earlier reviews, a bit scant on portion.

Our (duck fat) fries were scrumptious, but just a little heavy-handed on the salt.

We so wanted to try one of the adult milkshakes, but opted for the blackberry-peach cobbler with ice cream...so good we wanted to lick the bowl!

Our waitress, Hannah was WONDERFUL! Ask to sit in her section and you'll be happily and promptly served--even in a packed house.

We highly recommend you give Family Meal a try for their novel approach to creating comfort food with a foodie twist. It's a bit pricier than Waffle House or your local diner, but as they say, you get what you pay for. We're looking forward to our next trip to Frederick and a great meal at one of Voltaggio's restaurants.

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank CarolJL1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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514 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Bethesda, MD
Level Contributor
317 reviews
190 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
“I'll be back but need to steer around a few things”
Reviewed August 5, 2012

First impression was being greeted by 3 pretty young girls, always a good thing. Next was that the ceilings were very high and the design very spartan. Noise level is high though most of the music was to my liking (oldies). Appetizers impressed- fried green tomatoes & especially the chicken pot pie fritters. Next was an heirloom tomato salad, the biggest disappointment of the night. Not only was the portion small, the featured ingredient was terrible. I've had good luck buying sweet & firm tomatoes of all shapes and colors at farm markets, but these served were mushy and without taste. And forget the mizuna and just serve it with mesclun. Fried chicken was a home run; big portion, piping hot, moist, crispy and seasoned well. My wife raved about the rockfish. Regular fries were cooked nicely and served hot, but a little salty for me. Spinach was saved with too much liquid. Lemon meringue pie was good.

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank CWnut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reston, Virginia
Level Contributor
51 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“Success Exacts a Toll”
Reviewed August 5, 2012

Most restaurants open quietly and spend months building a clientele and smoothing out their operation and their kitchens. Family Meal had no such luck. They opened to the highest expectations as the third creation of Brian Voltaggio (Volt, Lunchbox) and subsequently had an immediate press of customers with the highest expectations. Nobody and no restaurant could live up to the initial hype. Therein lies their biggest problem. Success!

Last night, with friends, the food was really impressive. Pimento cheese (I have always hated pimento cheese) was wonderful, served with spicy chorizo sausage and pickled watermelon. The chicken pot pie fritters brought the house down at our table. How do they do it? Ask your server, the answer is so simple, yet inspired. Deviled eggs, ok, as most deviled eggs are, perhaps prettier than most. We ordered the steak with bernaise sauce and it was wonderful, both of us enjoyed it. The fried chicken with biscuits was exclaimed over by our friend. The pastrami sandwich was quietly eaten, no feed back on that one so you will have to rate it yourself.. Our one desert, the lemon meringue pie, did not disappoint. Clearly the food was not a problem.

So, what was the problem? Success? What does that mean? It means that the line waiting for tables at 7:00 PM was long, irritated, and having a reservation was not much help. Because of the way the restaurant is configured, there is not much of a place to wait. Two couples left because of the wait, several others were thinking about it. It was hot outside, so that was not a possibility. Too many people trying to get into a space that was too small so that they could share the excitement and pleasures of Voltaggio-style cooking.

What is the result of instant success? Instant pressure. Before the restaurant is really broken in, before the servers are comfortable and really on top of their game, before management understands not only the strengths but the weaknesses of their success. And so, as a game plan, I would suggest either going early (5:00) or late (9:00) with your dinner plans. Avoid the crush, the noise (it is loud!) and the waits. By 9:00 PM the restaurant had settled into a quieter, better environment and the service really became personal. Treat yourself to a new round of real southern flavored comfort food in Frederick and give the restaurant a chance to shine. It actually does!

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank mastdis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mount Airy
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Good Food”
Reviewed August 2, 2012

This is another restaurant by Brian Voltaggio and the food is quite good but a little "pricey". I had the flat iron steak with french fries (really liked the little buckets they're served in) and though it was delicious was not quite the amount I would like to have received. Probably add 2 or 3 ounces more steak or maybe throw in a house salad to offset the price and I would have been extremely happy with the experience. My wife had the egg salad sandwich which was overloaded but average. There was a short wait because we did not have reservations (recommended), and we could have sat at the bar but we don't drink alcoholic bevereges and would have just been taking up space for someone else.
I did notice how quickly the mixologist was producing a bevy of cool drinks for those desiring them and she was more than up to the task. We may go again but not anytime soon.

  • Visited July 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank dvdabrn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frederick, Maryland
Level Contributor
29 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Overpriced, but worth it.”
Reviewed July 29, 2012

My wife and I went for lunch and got two sandwiches and two sides. I got an egg salad sandwich and she got a cucumber avocado sandwich. We also got mashed potatoes and fries. The cuke/avocado sandwich was awesome and egg salad was average. Both sides were excellent with the mashed potatoes being amazing! The service was very good. They had a lot of employees working. Most restaurants serve fries or chips with a sandwich so when you pay 7 and 9 dollars for a small sandwich, you know your bill will be quite expensive, especially for lunch. Our total was $25 without drinks. The same items elsewhere would be about half price although the quality at Family Meal is definitely better. If the prices were better, we would probably go to this place weekly. We plan to go back one night for a beer and appetizers. I can't wait to try the Mac and Cheese!

Helpful?
Thank Maca54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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