Monday, July 11, 2011


So, Jeff and I have been fans of the show Top Chef since the first season.  It's one of the few shows we both like and we've never missed an episode (thank you, DVR).  Of course, like any TC fan in the D.C. area, we were thrilled when homegrown Frederick, MD brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, were on season 6.  Jeff and I were big fans of Bryan from the start, and we were disappointed when he lost out to his brother in the season finale.  But since then, we've been dying to dine at Bryan's restaurant, VOLT, in Frederick.  It consistently gets rave reviews and, in addition to its regular dining room, it has two "special" dining options in the Chef's Dining Room: a six-course tasting menu and Table 21, a 21-course tasting menu.

When my parents came to visit two weeks ago, we asked them to babysit Reed and we headed out to Frederick with our good friends Jen and Dustin Simon to enjoy the six-course tasting menu in the chef's dining room.  The meal was just outstanding.  We had to wait a few minutes before being seated, and we all enjoyed drinks in the bar (I definitely enjoyed three cocktails before the night was over - my first alcohol since last July, when we found out we were expecting!).  After being seated in the kitchen, I promptly took some pictures of the scene, including one of Chef Voltaggio talking to his staff.

Diners at Table 21
Chef Voltaggio talks to one of his waitstaff
Our waiter then asked us to choose between the Kitchen Menu and the Market Vegetable Menu.  The Kitchen Menu featured meat items, whereas the Market Vegetable Menu featured (you guessed it) vegetables.  Jen, Dustin, and Jeff all selected the Kitchen Menu and I chose the vegetables.  I should have saved the menus so that I could remember each course, but I do remember that each was delicious.  We also enjoyed three canapes before the first course was served, and an amazing bread basket throughout dinner.  After the sixth course, we were treated to a plate of truffles and we each were given a piece of coffee cake in a bag to enjoy the next morning.  Very nice touch!

My one complaint with the evening was that Chef Voltaggio did not come up to each table to say hello.  I kind of feel that a greeting from him should be part of the experience.  After all, it is the Chef's Dining Room, right?  He did hang out at the table next to us for quite a while, as one of the guests (a weird European who had somehow torn the back of his shirt up the seam) asked if he could draw a portrait of the chef on a dinner plate.  After the three cocktails, I was a little tipsy and Jeff and Jen said that I was staring at Chef Voltaggio.  Whatever.  I did get this nice close-up picture of him.  Jeff and I were a little surprised at his tats, as he seemed more clean-cut on the show.

Chef talking to table of weird Europeans

Of course, I desperately wanted a picture with the chef, but was too shy to ask, so after dinner, Jen was awesome and asked one of the waitstaff if the chef could come out for a picture.  We had to wait 10 minutes or so, but he did come out and we got the shot.  A little out of focus, but proof that we were there!  He was very nice and even played along when I told him I thought he had gotten hosed and should have won his season.  His response: "So did I!".  So cool. 

We were there!

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