Volt, Frederick, MD

I often walk straight into hornets’ nests, and so it was Saturday night at 7:30 PM, Valentine’s Day weekend, as I got an answering machine at Volt, but ignored the near-zero percent chance of getting a table and went anyway. It goes without saying there were no tables, but after about a fifteen-minute wait, two prime seats opened up at the bar. Score!

As with so many other restaurants, wines by the glass here are frightfully expensive (25% of the bottle price), and the diner is better off ordering a whole bottle of something (many bottles are priced in the $30s – ask the sommelier for help!) Nevertheless, the lowest-end glass of 2009 Karl Lagler Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Burgberg ($10) should carry a diner through just about anything other than dark meat courses.

Four appetizers, separated into two courses, ordered off the main dining room menu (there is also a separate lounge menu available, but it really isn’t any less expensive):

Yellowfin Tuna Tartare ($14) with the famous “Volt squiggle” of avocado, chili oil, petite cilantro, soy air, and marinated whitefish roe was a huge hit, the cylinders of tartare inside the squiggle of avocado, and buried underneath a rapidly disappearing cap of soy air.

Do not go here and think you shouldn’t order a salad. “Winter Garden” ($11) with beets, carrots in Timothy hay, radish, graham soil (!), kohlrabi, and Cherry Glen Farm chevre was one of the top two dishes – a fabulous, artistic presentation of beautiful winter vegetables, all in the right balance and just brilliantly plated. If you’re the least bit vegetarian, do yourself a favor and get this dish.

And then a couple of soups:

Shiitake Velouté ($12) with pinenut sabayon, chili oil, and opal basil was arguably the dish of the night, with the hot velouté blanketed and insulated by its mirror image of foam on top, with just enough hot soup peaking out from underneath to entice the diner to have both in one bite, then try each separately, then alternate. It was awesome.

Clam Chowder ($14) with mock root vegetables (squares of “carrots, potatoes,” etc.), dehydrated bacon, and California osetra had high quality clam meat, but was surprisingly my least favorite dish of the evening because it lacked a little oomph. But it speaks volumes that this this is the case because I still loved it – there wasn’t anything not to like.

I’d previously said in the Dining Guide that Volt was the best restaurant in Maryland. On this crowded Saturday night, with the restaurant completely overrun by patrons, I saw nothing to convince me otherwise.

This entry was posted in MD, Restaurants and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.