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“Looked Forward; Disappointed”
Review of Volt

Volt
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Ranked #17 of 400 Restaurants in Frederick
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$31 - US$50
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special Occasion Dining, Romantic
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, After-hours, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Between 2nd and 3rd Street
Description: VOLT offers guests a menu of modern American cuisine. The focus of our cuisine is based on classic flavor combinations, creating sophisticated dishes that emphasize purity and seasonal flavors that are based on fundamental and innovative cooking techniques. VOLT's relationship with local artisan farmers ensures availability of products to fulfill the philosophy behind the menu, in a refined, historic venue where classic meets modern. By design, the restaurant follows along the original footprint of the mansions first floor parlors. Both the 38 seat main dining room and the bar/lounge open off the foyer. The original mosaic tile in the foyer was the inspiration behind the warm monochromatic color palette that adorns the finishes in VOLT. Private dining can be hosted in the conservatory offering views of the expansive courtyard. The 700 square foot kitchen afforded space to include up to 20 guests.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
100 reviews
48 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Looked Forward; Disappointed”
Reviewed 20 June 2014

Volt is a touted destination restaurant for people from DC. We made a weekend of it to avoid drinking and driving. So, despite high hopes, we were let down. To start with, the food choices from the ala carte menu were good, but the actual taste and satisfaction was hit and miss. Asparagus and burata was pretty, but bland and had tiny bits of otherwise good cheese. Lamb agnoletti was much better with good flavors and delicate pasta. Soft shell crab was simply sautéed and was a winner, but recommended sea bass was blah. Short rib was tender, but seemed nothing like any short rib we had ever seen. Pork belly was a better choice. A composed cheese plate we tried was composed of many things but barely any cheese--the amount of completely bland cheese was equivalent in size to four potato peel size bits of cheese. We complained and got this removed from the bill.

The real problem was the service. The young staff seemed pretensious, but wth pretense should come competence. Once they dealt with you, you might as well have been in Siberia. The sommelier decanted our wine and we let it breath, but no one came to pour until we specifically asked if we should pour our own wine. All six plates in each course were delivered simultaneously by 3-4 wait staff, but once delivered no one ever followed up with "is everything alright; can I get you something." I don't like hovering, but this was ridiculous. Plus, by waiting for all six plates in each course some were hot and some just lukewarm. When the bread server ran out of biscuits, she said she would be right back with more. But three courses later, no biscuits had come.

Perhaps better service would have left a better taste in our mouthes regarding the food. But this was not to be. Given the distance and the cost we are unlikely to return, especially with so many better choices in DC.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Jzippin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
    Food
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    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Easton, Maryland
Level Contributor
90 reviews
75 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“meh”
Reviewed 17 June 2014

Honestly we were so excited to finally try Volt and sadly we were not impressed. The building is interesting and on the recommendation of a friend we sat outside. The service? Meh. There was no real welcome when we arrived and while there seemed to be quite a few different servers only a couple were friendly, most seemed indifferent to our presence. Honestly they almost seemed bored. The food was good (great pasta course and the pork belly entree was delicious) but not wow and the descriptions on the menu were a bit over the top. I think the process is what is supposed to make this a top tier restaurant. The desserts were both unremarkable. I wish we had stayed at the Wine Kitchen, much friendlier service and the food looked good. I hate to give a so-so review but after a long wait to try this restaurant we were not blown away by the service or the food.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Kristina H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
50 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Table 21: Awesome View; Decent Experience”
Reviewed 13 June 2014

Table 21 at Volt Restaurant is an eight person L-shaped counter gazing directly into the kitchen; all eight people are sat at once and served simultaneously (you can book as a smaller party but you dine as a communal table). Other than Atera, Catbird Seat and the kitchen table at Blue Hill at Stone Barns this was the best table I have dined at with regards to the view. Try if possible to be the first two to walk into the dining room as those two receive the seats closest to the action and have the best view (everyone waits in the bar area until all eight patrons arrive and are ushered in together). If you have not experienced fine dining in food Meccas such as Chicago, New York City and San Francisco this may be one of your most interesting and best dining experiences ever, but Table 21 at Volt suffers a bit from Big Fish in Small Pond syndrome as I will detail below.

Service at Table 21 was inferior to other kitchen table experiences I have experienced, sadly by quite a bit. While everybody was friendly and the ancillary staff was very attentive (my water glass was never less than half empty and they even would pause when walking past if someone at Table 21 was taking a photo of the kitchen) service was overall quite impersonal and rather canned. Despite the chefs being inches away not one uttered a word to anybody at the table and the lead server did not engage in any banter aside from scripted descriptions of the food and wine. Not exactly the interactivity and personalized service one expects at a kitchen table. While Volt did an adequate job tweaking the menu for dietary aversions (appreciated with such a lengthy, complex menu) I opted for the wine pairings and informed my server I dislike sweet wines and would do the pairing contingent on my dessert wine being swapped for something less sweet; I was assured this would not be an issue but when I tasted my dessert pairing it was cloyingly sweet and the server did not return until I was nearly finished with dessert (and even then did not comment on my glass still being full).

With regards to the cuisne, Top Chef winning Bryan Voltaggio is known for modernist cuisne. While Chef Voltaggio was absent tonight, Chef de Cuisine Graeme Ritchie did a commendable job running the kitchen and the food was well executed. The modernist theme was evident throughout the meal with deconstructions such as a play on deviled eggs where the egg white was actually a celery meringue. The menu commenced with several small bites served in quick succession and overall was heavy on seafood and vegetables with just two meats (lamb and a steaky short rib). While the food was mostly quite good unfortunately not much aspired to the outstanding or memorable category and the menu was rather safe for a modern, extended tasting menu (i.e. no game and no nose-to-tail dishes). That said the savories were enjoyable and many interesting and beautifully plated.

Perhaps the best dish of the night was one of the initial canapés, a play on a twice baked potatoes; the lobster course was my second favorite and I was impressed with how well cooked all the proteins were. Another great bite was some smoked beets that had the texture and taste of beef jerkey; beets are generally not my favorite food but these were amazing.

I had noticed bread service consisted of some really good looking mini muffin shaped rolls being baked in house; while bread service is not typically a part of Table 21 (due to the volume of food), my request to partake was granted and I am glad I indulged; the cheese/herb roll was fantastic and the sourdough roll quite solid as well and great for soaking up extra sauce from the savories. Desserts were the weakest of the night; starting with a cheese course that most at the table found somewhat unpleasant, followed by three dessert courses of which two I felt were mediocre. Pacing for 21 courses was remarkably fast (about 2.5 hours) yet did not feel rushed.

I opted for wine pairings ($90 supplement) and I thought the six wines before the aforementioned dessert pairing tasted great, but not worth the $90 surcharge (by-the-glass would have been a far better option and one can receive the same quantity of wine for half the price). Some peculiarities with the pairings included each pour lasted for anywhere from two to six dishes; one was not informed how many courses each went with and I was never topped off when I mistakenly consumed one too fast. Also while the wines were really good on their own, they did not always pair across all dishes they were served with, most strikingly a medium bodied red with a halibut course. While this is a challenge with extended tasting menus, at $90 they could have added a couple additional pairings to better match.

Overall while this was a good meal and a fantastic view of the kitchen, at this price point ($150 for the food at Table 21) I am picky and most of my meals at this price have been superior overall experiences.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank fabcomdr2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
136 reviews
51 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“We loved it!”
Reviewed 11 June 2014 via mobile

We were traveling and planning to be in the Frederick, Md area. So we booked a dinner reservation at Volt for our anniversary. We were seated in the chef's room. For us, the experience was awesome! Though we have done a lot of traveling and have eaten in lots of restaurants, this experience was one of our favorites. The service was impeccable. And the food, while it was different we found it delicious! We had read a review to keep an open mind. So we ordered several courses that seemed foreign to us. The meal was a little pricey...But we were not disappointed! Great Anniversary dinner...memorable experience.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank JDH_AustinTx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
95 reviews
69 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Not the best, not average”
Reviewed 9 June 2014

I had pretty high hopes after reading a lot of glowing reviews, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking there's no way this place in MD can compare to some other top notch places in large cities. I was mildly disappointed and am not eager to go back, but if you're not used to this type of fine dining and Michelin stars, you'll probably enjoy Volt. Both my husband and I opted for the protein driven chef's tasting menu.

Food: innovative and creative, beautiful presentation, small portions (very typical of this style of dining though so please don't be surprised or upset by this), fairly small menu. Some items were a bit over salted (in my opinion) and most of the dishes lacked texture (almost everything was soft, no real crunch of contrast), but we both enjoyed everything we ate. Nothing was "bad."

Service: very scripted and rehearsed which made it seem not very personal, service is not as professional and impeccable as service in other fine dining establishments I've frequented (Gordon Ramsay in London, Petrus, Alain Ducasse, etc.). Servers walk around with pens in their pockets, torn pant hems, etc. Not terrible or anything, but not what I would expect with fine dining.

Atmosphere: the restaurant was good looking, but the tables are very close together and it gets very loud. Dress code is business casual, but most people were dressed casually...

Price: We paid about $250 for the two of us without alcohol, so obviously it's higher priced than your average meal, but still very reasonable for this type of fine dining. If you're in a bigger city (NYC, London, Paris, etc.) you would pay at least double that.

Overall, would I go back? No. I love food regardless of where it comes from- Michelin starred restaurants, food trucks, carry out, I'll try it all. But, I'm confused by the identity of Volt- if you want to be high end fine dining, then be consistent and be on par with the others. Get high quality servers, a sommelier, spread your tables out, and ditch the Converse sneakers. If you want to cater to the mass public, that's fine but beware they will complain about small portions and high prices.

I rate this as "very good" because it's exceptional compared to other places in MD, and honestly there isn't really anything that similar to Volt in MD anyways. However, I can't say it's excellent when compared to other fine dining on a larger scale.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Stephanie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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