I love the show Top Chef, and here is why: Top Chef puts a spot light on the culinary arts and chefs in ways that no other show does. It also brings attention to these talented culinary artists who would probably not receive a ton of recognition otherwise. The past season of Top Chef: Las Vegas had some of the most talented chefs the show has seen yet, including runner-up, Bryan Voltaggio.
Voltaggio owns VOLT restaurant, located in Frederick, MD (an adorable place, should you ever find yourself there). Since I was planning on coming down to Maryland for part of my vacation, I asked my hostess and good friend, Leland, if we could make a day trip out to Frederick and try VOLT. Being the good friend she is, she agreed to the 90 minute drive. The trip was completely worth it.
The restaurant, situated at 228 N. Market St, is located in a former Victorian style home built in the 1800s, but the decor of the restaurant is completely contemporary, as were the staff (grey suits, no ties and converses… yes, CONVERSES).
Since it was Sunday, early afternoon, we had the brunch, a three course prix fixe menu. As a good brunch usually does, every course gave the option of breakfast or lunch fare from which to choose. Leland and I, having similar tastes, ordered the same first 2 courses, and then different desserts. We also sprang for the additional wine pairings, where each course was paired with a different wine (totally worth the additional $18/person).
*Note: I apologize for the quality of these photos. They were taken on my BlackBerry because I figured whipping out my camera in the middle of the meal wouldn’t be acceptable.*
1st Course: Potato-Leek Chowder with a Seared Scallop
We decided to have soup for the first course, for no other reason than it sounded delicious. The soup was incredibly smooth and creamy. The scallop was seared perfectly, melting in my mouth. We considered licking the bowls when we were finished, but decided to refrain.
Accompaniment: country sausage gravy and scallion biscuits
In addition to the three courses, diners have the option of adding on an additional plate for a small price. Wanting to experience as much of the food as we could, we decided to order their version of biscuits and gravy. The biscuits were warm and soft, with a thick hearty sausage gravy poured over the top.
2nd Course: French Toast
Your mom never made French toast like this, I promise. The French toast itself was thick and savory. It was topped with organic maple syrup, freshly made whipped cream and chutney (don’t ask me what I kind, I was too busy burrowing into the plate to pay attention!)
3rd Course: Dulce de Leche
Death by dessert, because if I had dropped dead after eating this, I would have gone happy. The little goat cheese cheesecake, with dried caramel and vanilla ice cream was so rich and decedant the plate was clean within a matter of a minute. Leland opted for the Textures of Chocolate, a white chocolate ganache with chocolate caramel and raw organic cocoa. She was equally satisfied.
Through out the meal, the staff would bring by a variety of rolls and bread. Round 1, I tried the chive biscuit, which was absolutely delish. Round 2, I grabbed a chocolate croissant, also very tasty.
Overall, the meal was incredible. As Leland pointed out part way through the meal, as we had ceased speaking, “You know it’s good food when you’re too busy to talk.” And for $25/person for three courses, it didn’t break my single-girl-salary bank.
Of course, being a Top Chef fan, I really hoped to see the man himself, Bryan Voltaggio. By the end of the meal I accepted the fact that it wasn’t going to happen. On our way out, I needed to use the restroom, which was located directly across from the kitchen. On my way out of the ladies room, I peeked in the kitchen, and working right next to the door was Voltaggio. While I seriously considered falling to the ground and bowing to him in worship, I simply smiled to myself and walked to the exit. Mission accomplished.