When Top Chef season 6 contestant Bryan Voltaggio isn’t battling it out against other chefs in the pressure-cooker reality television show, he is the Executive Chef of Volt Restaurant, located in Frederick, Maryland. Although as of now the winner for this season of Top Chef has not yet been announced, Bryan Voltaggio has been one of the frontrunners throughout, and if word wasn’t out about his restaurant before it most certainly is now.
Even arriving for an early 5:30 pm dinner reservation on a Saturday evening the restaurant quickly becomes packed and the bar fills with groups waiting for their tables, checking out the lavish scene and indulging in a few creative cocktails. One that immediately jumped off the menu was the Spicy Spark, a sparkling wine mixed with jalapeno syrup that delivers a spicy and sweet kick.
Volt makes its mark not only through the food that it serves but also through its attention to details. The restaurant is located in a historic mansion, however the inside is modern and sleek. All of the dishes are artistically crafted and presented, and a full team of servers brings your food to the table, ensuring that everything arrives at the same time and is positioned just so.
Servers also give you a full description of everything you ordered, in case you didn’t quite have a grip on it the first time or just wanted to remind yourself of the goodness that is to come. With the level of service provided you can’t help but feel as if you are a guest judge on Top Chef, and Voltaggio just whipped up a dish just for you.
The feeling isn’t entirely inaccurate either, as Voltaggio is in the restaurant on almost all nights. On this Saturday night he was present, and made a few cameos to the dining room in between his busy work inside the kitchen, instantly hushing the previously vibrant dining area. (Here’s a hint: Order the $55 truffle dish, and you have a good shot at having Voltaggio himself come to the table to grate the truffles).
The menu is designed in four courses, enabling you to prepare your own four course top-to-bottom meal. Depending on the intensity of your hunger pangs and the depth of your wallet you may want to skip a round or two. However, you would be wise to include a dessert with your meal. All of the desserts sounded delicious, and a peanut butter fudge delight garnished with a cilantro sauce and served with a scoop of banana ice cream – in the shape of a mini banana no less – was fantastic. Coffee is brought to the table in individual or double-sized coffee presses, allowing for plenty of refills and ensuring a fresh, gourmet cup.
One of the nice surprises at Volt is that throughout your dining experience you are presented with several bite sized snacks or treats. After sitting down you receive an amuse-bouche, or one bite starter to get things rolling. On this occasion it was a powerful and flavorful steak tartar. When the check arrives patrons were greeted with one-bite ice cream sandwiches – to sweeten the damage of course – and before leaving all diners received a fresh baked muffin to go.
The restaurant also packs a private dining room, as well as tables located directly in the kitchen where you can take part in a 21-course tour de force. If you want the all-access experience without the extravagance, the staff is happy to provide a quick tour of the kitchen. Additionally, a television screen from the lounge provides the ideal spot for Wednesday evening viewing parties of Top Chef, and weather permitting a projection screen is set up in the courtyard to accommodate a larger crowd.
Will Bryan Voltaggio end up winning season 6 of Top Chef? Whether he does or he doesn’t, with Volt he has something that would assuredly please Tom, Padma and Co. Opening up a fantastic new restaurant right where you were raised, competing in front of millions of viewers every week on TV, leading the charge for a culinary revival that the suburbs of Washington D.C. have been craving… just another day’s work.
Volt is located at 228 Market Street in Frederick, Maryland. For more information, you can visit their official website at http://www.voltrestaurant.com/index.htm.