Yesterday wasn’t my average day in the world of high finance. I had the pleasure of eating a 4 course lunch and wine pairing at Volt in Frederick. Jealous much? It gets better…during lunch, I was privy to a demonstration by head chef (and Top Chef finalist/mega hottie) Bryan Voltaggio.
Owner Hilda Staples shared with us the very inspiring story of how the restaurant came to be. Having worked in corporate America, Hilda left for maternity leave to raise her twin infants. After doing this for a few months, Hilda wanted what every new mother desperately wants…a drink. Being the ambitious woman that she is, Hilda didn’t just go to a bar, she decided she wanted her own bar (my type of lady!). When appearing before the liquor board to request a liquor license, they duly informed her she couldn’t just serve alcohol, she needed to serve food as well. “Great” she thought, thinking cheese and crackers would be easy enough. A few months later, when the cheese and cracker idea wasn’t exactly panning out, her husband suggested a young chef he has read about and heard was raised from Frederick. Who wouldn’t want to move back to Frederick? A few months later, Volt was born.
While I can’t begin to adequately describe how Bryan made all of this delicious molecular something or other food, I can say each course was pretty amazing. The first dish he demonstrated was his take on chicken parmesan, which had parmesan cheese spaghetti, sous-vide chicken, and tomato flavored dipping dots. Given the time-intensive process (they actually have one of those air pump machines for tires in the kitchen which are used to make the “spaghetti” ) this dish is typically reserved for one of the courses at their famous Table 21, their chefs table in the kitchen.
We started our meal with a Cherry Glen Farm goat cheese ravioli with balsamic brown butter and maitake mushrooms, paired with a Chateau St. Michelle Riesling. The buttery taste of the cheese and pasta literally melted in my mouth. For the second course, we were served arctic char with white asparagus risotto, rhubarb, ginger, and upland cress, paired with a Chardonnay. This was the second of the dishes he demonstrated, and at least I had one easy takeaway to remember. For the risotto, you can partially make it (ie if it typically calls for adding a 1/3 of the broth and then stir, you can do this 2 times), put it in the fridge, and then make the rest before your guests come.
The entrée was a Pineland Farm Beef strip loin with faro risotto, spring onion, chanterelle mushrooms and braised carrots, paired with a merlot. The dessert (and by far my favorite with the sweet tooth I have) was bitter chocolate ganache, chocolate caramel, pistachio and raw organic cocoa, paired with a nice big cabernet sauvignon.
All in all, it was a fabulous meal and I’m glad that I was finally able to get in to this hot spot in scenic downtown Frederick. Definitely a lunch to remember!