Destination Dining in Frederick (!)

Our friends E&I have been talking up “this great restaurant, fine dining, no really” in Frederick, MD, for a couples date.  I was polite, but cool – and frankly a bit skeptical.  I wasn’t so convinced of gourmet dining in Frederick.  And besides, there were so many good places in Washington, that are just a cab ride away.  Was it really worth the hour drive?

Rabbit 4 Ways

Rabbit Four Ways

We found out last Sunday.  We headed up 270 with E&I, past Rockville, past the industrial parks and biotech companies, past Butler’s Orchard where we sometimes pick berries and headed into Frederick, past the big box stores to the cute little downtown lined with brick houses and shops.

Volt was hopping on Sunday night at 7:30.  We settled into the bar/lounge where quite a few of the patrons had come up from Washington.  My rum and cider cocktail was perfect for a crisp Fall evening in the country.

The restaurant itself was a mix of original and contemporary — Victorian brick house with original mosaic tile in the entryway, modish bathrooms with opaque glass running 3/4 the length of the wall.  The main dining room was light and airy, light colored leather against whitish walls, where works from local artists were featured.

Tuna Tartare

Tuna Tartare

Our meal started promisingly with a shrimp dumpling amuse bouche and a selection of tantalizing breads, none more so than a chive buttermilk biscuit .

I moved onto the tuna tartare – beautiful presentation and great textures.  Complemented the Ponzi pinot noir we ordered.

Next up was the halibut, which our server described as one of her favorites.  A perfect piece of

Halibut

Halibut

fish on ruby quinoa and butternut squash puree, with salsify and dots of browned butter on the side.  Silky texture and flavorful mouthfuls that complemented, not overwhelmed the fish.  Who knew you could get such good fish — all the way in Frederick!

Lamb

Lamb

While I was quite happy with my entree, I was a little jealous of my dinner companions.  The lamb looked perfect — barely singed, just as it should be. And the rabbit four ways looked adorable — the tiny rack of rabbit was too cute for words.

In truth, I didn’t want dessert — not a huge dessert person and wasn’t wowed by any of the choices on the menu.  That said, the banana split that others shared was creative and (according to them) tasty, and our chocolate textures was equally imaginative and beautifully presented.  I liked the white chocolate ganache ribbon, but didn’t love it.  More likely, I was so impressed by the french press coffee, I couldn’t concentrate on the dessert!

Verdict:  worth the drive, worth another trip.

Added bonus:  On our way out, we met celeb chef Bryan Voltaggio of Top Chef fame — I don’t watch the show, but I later learned that one of my friends has a crush on him …!

Banana Split

Banana Split

Textures of Chocolate

Textures of Chocolate

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