The following review appears in The Washington Post’s 2016 Fall Dining Guide.


Complimentary after-dinner sweets in the kitchen at Volt in downtown Frederick. (Scott Suchman/For The Washington Post)

Volt

GOOD/EXCELLENT

It’s still worth the trip, this cooly elegant restaurant from celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio. Nowhere in its vicinity is there smoother service, a stronger sommelier or food that makes you laugh one minute and salute the chef another. Little lobster rolls crowned with house-made potato chips make an appetizer of Maine, while chicken shows up on a fluffy roost of farro, bites of which pop with grapes and ground cherries. Seafood and pasta pairings are particularly imaginative, none more so than calamari Bolognese on squid cavatelli, a dish that gets its punch from crumbled pepperoni. Meats, in contrast, are meh. More about science than good taste, the last course proves the weak link in the chain. Enough already with the deconstructed desserts! Let Key lime pie be Key lime pie.

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2 1/2 stars

Volt: 228 N. Market St., Frederick, Md. 301-696-8658. voltrestaurant.com .

Prices: Mains $20-$39.

Sound check: 68 decibels / Conversation is easy.

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The following review appeared in The Washington Post’s 2015 Spring Dining Guide.

EXCELLENT

Two words explain why you should stop reading this now and book a table at Volt in Frederick: Scott Muns. Have you heard? The former chef de cuisine at Rose’s Luxury, praised to the skies by critics from coast to coast (guilty!), became the day-to-day muse at the 19th-century manse last September. “I’m bringing in other people and other palates ... so we can push our food,” said chef-owner Bryan Voltaggio at the time. His hire is pushing the menu to the moon.

Close your eyes and you could be eating Volt’s succulent pork tenderloin with black-eyed peas at the South’s best meat-and-threes, the shrimp-and-crab soup with its tamarind jolt and black garlic custard in Bangkok. Sweetbread nuggets are tricked out with matchsticks of pickled butternut squash and a tease of mole. Ole! The house-baked breads are fabulous, the venison is elevated with what a waiter says are “30 spices,” and the pastry chef dazzles with an all-white, several-part coconut dessert that looks like modern art, plus Paris-pretty bonbons. A grain of grit in the mussel and mustard soup is an aberration.


With its tamarind jolt and black garlic custard, Volt’s shrimp-and-crab soup recalls Bangkok. (Scott Suchman/For The Washington Post)

Sweetbread nuggets are adorned with thin strips of pickled butternut squash and mole. (Scott Suchman/For The Washington Post)

A compelling meal, like a good story, doesn’t happen without a support group, and Volt is stocked with a reliable cast (although it’s a little annoying to hear some of them tell you, repeatedly, they’re doing something “to provide seamless service”). Does the general manager look familiar? It’s Michael Chesser, applying the same polish here as he did at the late, four-star CityZen in Washington.