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Super Chefs: NYC vs Frederick, MD

September 22, 2013

Last time we did an informal foodie experimental test set, Volt won hands down. This iteration, we find Volt neck and neck with Annisa up to the finish line where the crack staff at Volt pulls of a win by a headlength at the finish line.

Wow. Annisa (in the Village in NYC) is fantastic. Soup dumplings with fois gras? Yep. Delicious duck and stuffed pork. The work of Anita Lo is incredibly great. Love the wine list too with lots of fun stuff from Italy. Also a plus, the atmosphere is warm, welcoming and at the same time very precise. The only thing that needs work at Annisa is the bar program which lags pretty far behind the edge. (I called for a Corpse Reviver #2 and the lemon juice was squeezed sometime way before I had arrived at the restaurant. Might even have been concentrate.)

Volt, Bryan Voltaggio’s phenom restaurant in Frederick, MD is also fantastic food-wise. Of particular note on the tasting menu this outing:
MELON heirloom tomatoes from big white barn, pickled rinds of watermelon, shaved surryano ham from surry county virginia, fennel marinated in fresh whey and dressed with oil of arbequina olives

The melon treatment is particularly incredible. Both cantaloupe and watermelon vacuum sealed and compressed.

CHANTERELLE MUSHROOMS preserved ramps from this year’s crop, steel cut oats with kombu and brown butter, sea lettuces dressed with the pickle from the ramps, mushrooms roasted and glazed with an emulsion of beer and fresh yeast

foam! and buttery deliciousness.

PASTA BOLOGNESE calamari and bacon smoked with hickory, stewed with roasted tomatoes and kimchi of daikon radish, ricotta cheese and miso cavatelli with ink from the squid, grated parmigiano reggiano

This was my personal favorite. I am usually not a fan of squid ink, but Voltaggio can pull it off. The bolognese would make any nanna proud.

NUNAVUT CHAR slowly cooked in extra virgin olive oil, green cabbage shaved thin and slightly wilted, rye bread that has been toasted and smoked, mousse made from horseradish, broth from plum juice and dill

So tender.

The food is just amazing. Don’t let the off the beaten path thing fool you. But the service is what made our outing at Volt so great.

Zack started things out properly at the bar with some nicely crafted cocktails including the Cat’s Pajamas:
.25 Countreau
.5 Yellow chartreuse
.5 Brandy
.75 Suze
1 oz Rittenhouse Rye
Stir down. Serve up with a thick orange twist.

TJ the wine guy was so encyclopedic in his knowledge that we all learned something. What a joy to experience (well everything but the Gewürztraminer). The entire staff is not snobby at all, just knowledgeable and fun. Our waiter was also a blast, especially when after hearing about the latest two pigs we’re raising opined that we should call them “Mountain Dew” and “Spider Monkey” or maybe “brioche” and “biscuit.” Awesome. Real people, great food. You MUST go.

Volt Entrance (3a)

The best part of all was that the Volt thing happened spontaneously based on a gig I had in Frederick. Best excuse to blow all the gig money and then some that I have ever had! (Thanks to Michael for squeezing us in at the last minute.)

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