In planning for our recent trip to Frederick we knew we wanted to see if we could fit in a meal at Volt. I’ve been itching to check out this renowned restaurant since watching chef and owner, Bryan Voltaggio, on Top Chef. His dishes looked impeccable and consistently wowed the judges. I knew it was a short distance from D.C. but for some reason never made a trip out to experience it.
As our plans for the trip quickly started to fill up, we switched from a dinner reservation on a Saturday to one for brunch on Sunday to fit in time with friends.
The restaurant, located in a gorgeous 19th century brownstone mansion, immediately sets a special tone. Every detail is meticulously thought out in terms of quality, design, and experience.
We reviewed the menu and thought about a few items to order. However, it didn’t take long for our eyes to wander over to the five-course Chef’s Tasting Menu and wine pairing. We quickly decided to treat ourselves to this option as our 4th wedding anniversary was coming up and this was a meal that we wanted to share with one another. I believe truly special culinary experiences like this enhanced when shared with someone who loves and understands you. Being with Kacy and celebrating our anniversary together made this as special an experience as could be.
After sharing a toast to four years of marital bliss, we started with a fennel macaron and foie gras amuse bouche. I am a sucker for an amuse bouche and this macaron was one of the best bites of the entire meal. It melted almost immediately in your mouth and packed a great deal of flavor for a single bite.
The first dish from the tasting menu was a grilled avocado with lump crab topped with house made creme fraiche blended with mint and made into a powder. The local Maryland crab was extremely fresh and the grilled avocado had a nice a soft texture. This dish was paired with a Cortese, an Italian white wine, a good match for the slightly sweet crab and touches of bitterness from the grilled avocado.
Our second course was a pan roast zucchini with curry emulsion topped with cauliflower couscous and cashews. Zucchini is roasted with brown butter and thyme, picking up a huge amount of flavor from the curry. We were scraping our plates clean to get every last drop of that curry, it was incredible. The wine pairing for this dish was a French Chardonnay. It was a dryer, crisp Chardonnay that paired well with the brown butter from the dish.
The duck bolognese really stood out as our favorite dish of the meal. The duck is braised for several hours with sautéed San Marzano tomatoes and garlic. The cavatelli pasta, made with ricotta cheese and broccoli rabe that lends a greenish tint, is topped with smoked parmesan and pepperoni bread crumbs. The bolognese had this insane balance of rich and sweet flavors. It may have been the best pasta sauce and dish that I have ever had. Paired with one of our favorite Italian wines (Barbera), this dish will stay with us a very long time.
Our fourth course was a roasted pork belly with citrus marinade, served atop smoked grits and plantains. The dish was garnished with a pan-fried plantain and a caramelized coconut pork jus. The pork belly had a crispy exterior yet was extremely tender upon biting. This was the most impressive presentation of pork belly I’ve ever seen (coincidentally, the Tasting Room in Frederick has the second). Each bite had layers of complex flavors as we worked through the dish. The wine pairing was a French Gamay that lent nice body and tannins to the savory pork.
The dessert course was milk chocolate cremeux, blackberries, orange meringue and chocolate sorbet. The dish’s black hue was striking and gave the impression of a bitter dark chocolate flavor to the dish. However, the dessert was creamy and fruity with just the right amount of sweetness.
The dessert wine pairing was a Pedro Jiminez Sherry from 1986, the year of Kacy’s birth. That’s right, a 31-year-old sherry(!!!). It was so rich and complex yet smooth and satisfying at the same time. It was the perfect ending to an incredible meal with the perfect woman.
We have shared many great brunches together, but I’d have to say that this one was the best so far. The team at Volt nailed everything about the dining experience and we’re already looking forward to another meal there some time in our future.