Friday, October 17, 2014

Last Sunday, we had dinner at Volt's Table 21 in Frederick, to celebrate Heather's weekend home for her University of Maryland Medical School interview.  It was amazing.  The experience itself is not quite as special as Minibar -- the seating doesn't give you as good a view of the kitchen preparation; there is much less interaction with the chefs (at Volt, you're served from your side of the counter by a waiter; at Minibar, you're served from the kitchen side of the counter by the chefs).  So you don't feel quite as much like a VIP.  But the food is just spectacular.  I loved everything except the calamari bolognese (which was just sort of OK).  The smoked eggplant that came with the lamb was not especially good, which was OK for me but disappointing for my vegetarian brother, for whom it was the main part of the plate.  (The vegetarian version of the meal was mostly very good, but in some cases it was just "the meat dish, plus more side dish, minus meat," which was often not quite on target.)

I didn't take pictures of everything, but this should give you the idea.  We also had the wine pairing and I tried to remember where they matched the wine pours with the courses.

AVIATION creme de violette, maraschino, gin
A cocktail in the form of a sorbet.  A little strong for me -- I don't care for gin much.

DEVILED EGG osetra caviar, whitmore farm hen egg, celeriac
Yum yum yum yum yum!!  I love deviled eggs and this was like the ultimate deviled egg ever.

OYSTER yuzu, lemon cucumber

SCALLOP roasted pawpaw vinaigrette, habanero, spaghetti squash

RICE CRISP aged cheddar, our bay spice

SMOKED BEET yellowfin tuna, egg yolk, tonnato

HUCKLEBERRY rose wine, fresh cheese
pierre paillard, grand cru, bouzy, champagne, france, m.v.

LOBSTER MUSHROOM tosaka seaweed, pickled ramps, sea beans

FOIE GRAS arugula, pickled sour cherry
tegernseerhof, zweigelt, rose, mittelbach, wachau, austria, 2012

WHITE ASPARAGUS sea urchin, dashi, hickory smoke
This was so delicious I forgot to take a picture until I had finished it...

MUSTARD GREEN SOUP mussels, radish, brioche croutons
lucien crochet, sauvignon blanc, sancerre, france, 2012
This was maybe the most luscious texture of the evening.

SWEET CORN filet bean, pea miso, corn smut
This was my favorite dish -- I love sweet corn, and this dish just had a perfect balance of flavors.  I could have eaten a giant bowl of this and been happy.  It was maybe the only dish where I genuinely regretted that there wasn't a lot more of it.  (With 21 courses, you seriously have to pace yourself...)

CALAMARI BOLOGNESE squid ink cavatelli, pepperoni, parmesan
r. lopez de heredia, viura/malvasia, vina gravonia, rioja, spain, 2004
Like I said.  Meh.  Just sort of dense and heavy, and nothing special about the flavors.

OPEN BOOK FARMS CHICKEN sprouted quinoa, hen of the woods mushrooms, cipollini onion
Phenomenally tender chicken, perfectly cooked, perfect accompaniments.

SWEETBREADS mole, pickled butternut squash, masa
keller estate, pinot noir, la cruz vineyard, sonoma coast, california, 2009

LAMB summer beans, smoked eggplant, meyer lemon

WAGYU BEEF salsify, malt, charred leeks
catena alta, malbec, historic rows, mendoza, argentina, 2010

PLEASANT RIDGE carrot, sourdough, golden raisin

GOLDEN GINGER APPLE walnut, sesame seed, bay leaf
chateau pajzos, tokaji, aszu, hungary, 2006
Surprisingly, this was the best dessert -- normally, I would go for the chocolate option every time, but the sesame with the chocolate didn't quite work for me.

CHOCOLATE sesame, caramel



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