Volt: new spot in Frederick


July 30, 2008|By ELIZABETH LARGE

Frederick already has some of the best restaurants in Maryland. Now Volt (228 N. Market St., 301-696-8658; voltrestaurant.com) has opened with high expectations in a 19th-century brownstone mansion in downtown Frederick.

Chef/owner Bryan Voltaggio, who grew up in Frederick, headed the kitchen of Aureole in New York City and opened Charlie Palmer Steak on Capitol Hill before he teamed up with business partner Hilda Staples to create Volt. He brought sommelier Aaron Schifferle with him from Charlie Palmer.

Voltaggio says his new restaurant is "a statement of my experiences in New York. It's a great blend of modern cuisine and a historic building."

The emphasis - no surprise here - is on local, seasonal ingredients. The food is "modern American"; dinner entrees run from $21 to $32. When I asked Voltaggio for a signature dish, he described a saddle of Jameson Farm's lamb with local cranberry beans and yellow wax beans, accented with savory.

In the renovations, the partners kept elements of the original building, like the hardwood floors in the conservatory, the marble mosaic tiles in the foyer and the handsome crown molding in the main dining room. There are seats for 32 in the main dining room, which has an a la carte menu, and 16 in the chef's dining room, where you can get a five-course ($69) or a seven-course ($79) dinner. (There's also a vegetarian option.)

Volt is open for dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Plans are for it to open for lunch in mid-August.

A NEW NO. 1 The new Zagat Washington, DC/Baltimore Restaurants 2009 guide is out with some surprisingly up-to-date inclusions like Annabel Lee, Catonsville Gourmet and Clementine.

Most interesting to me is how much the "40 Most Popular" list has changed. Last year the top five were 1) Clyde's, 2) Ruth's Chris, 3) Prime Rib, 4) Charleston and 5) McCormick & Schmick's. This year they are 1) Charleston, 2) Prime Rib, 3) Helmand, 4) Petit Louis Bistro and 5) Ruth's Chris. When I asked why Clyde's didn't even make the top 40 this year when it was No. 1 last year, the PR person for Zagat told me that last year there was some confusion about the Columbia location and the eight Washington locations. This year, voters were told to specify which Clyde's they were voting for.

Another interesting thing is how the Prime Rib, which has been around forever, consistently holds its own in these surveys.

A MOVE Cafe Mocha on Howard Street's Antique Row, which made my Top 10 list of best sandwich shops recently, will be moving to bigger and better digs in September, assuming all goes well with getting the proper permits. The new location will be in the old post office building at 1501 St. Paul St.

... AND A CLOSING When a restaurant closes unexpectedly, it's often hard to get any information about what happened or even to confirm that it's gone for good. But the Tiber River Tavern in Ellicott City is closed and for sale for $300,000. The listing is on Craigslist, and the agent, Alicia Wines, confirms it shut its doors at the beginning of this month.



Check out restaurant critic Elizabeth Large's daily blog (baltimoresun.com/diningatlarge) for restaurant news and notes and reader feedback. Don't miss Top 10 Tuesdays.

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