Friday, December 4, 2009

The Lunch Bunch dines in style

For the past several years, several trainers, one T-Touch practitioner and I have been getting together approximately once a month for lunch to talk dogs and, increasingly more often, unrelated matters. (I'm gonna have to check out The Big Bang Theory, for one thing) Generally we get together at Bertuccio's or some other sit-down-service-on-the-run establishment. But today, to celebrate the holidays and to be just to be a tad decadent, we lunched at Volt, the establishment co-owned by Top Chef finalist Bryan Voltaggio, who's also the chef there.

Oh. my. God.

The food was, to put it mildly, amazing. Here is a link to part of the menu; not included in the link is the prix fixe menu of three courses for the incredibly reasonable price $20.09. (Guess next month it'll go up a penny?).

I went for the ravioli for the first course, chicken for the main course and apple tart for dessert. The ravioli had a tang to it that one wouldn't expect from ravioli, while the chicken had a crispy edge that one would normally associate with duck -- and it was also incredibly juicy and flavorful. The apple tart replaced the peach tart that's featured on the menu I've linked to: the pastry was light as a feather and beautifully absorbed the juices of the warm apple. The tart was paired with basil ice cream (who'd have thought basil could be an ice cream flavor?) that -- much to the amazement of at least one of my dining companions, who know I generally don't eat ice cream -- I scarfed every last bit of. That said, every one of us pretty much cleaned our plates. My daughter was very disappointed that I didn't bring home a doggie bag.

The attention to detail in unexpected places was amazing. Take, for example, the soup spoons. On one side of the bowl part of the spoon was a little divit. The reason, one of our servers explained, was to make it easier for diners to get every last bit of soup or sauce out of the appetizer dishes, which were grooved. That way, a diner could enjoy her entire portion of her appetizer without having to do something uncouth, like licking the bowl.

My only quibble was the noise level. We were seated at a long table, and I found it hard to hear what everyone else was saying (of course, it could be my age catching up with me. But I'd prefer to think not). But that's a small price to pay for what's probably the most memorable, not to mention delicious, dining experience the Lunch Bunch has had to date.

And if Bryan doesn't win next Top Chef next Wednesday (smart money's on this guy, because he's won so many challenges. I do like his simple food credo) -- well, geez, I can't imagine how great the winner's food could be.


Pat Miller said...

I was there too, and it was exquisite! I had a fantastic beet dish appetizer, and the wonderful ravioli dish Susan described as my main course. The flavors demanded that you savor every bite - no wolfing down this meal!And the multi-chocolate dessert was excellent - even the white chocolate, and I'm not a big white chocolate fan. I'm trying to figure out when/how i can go eat there again. Yum. Great food, great company!!!

Pat Miller

Pam Wanveer said...

A spectacular lunch in a beautiful setting. Volt is in a grand old stone house in historic downtown Frederick, MD. The food was delicious and beautifully presented.

Pam Wanveer

Penelope Brown said...

I was there, too, and actually got to sample a teensy bit of Susan's basil ice cream - it was FAB! Choosing among the vegetable dishes was challenging. I am still hankering for "the one that got away" - a combination of various local produce with watermelon relish - but I was wowed by my Shitake soup and "texture of cauliflower" with "beluga" lentils. It was very festive with little bits of purple, green, yellow and regular colored cauliflower.

As Susan said:
Oh. My. Dog! ok, maybe it's not an exact quote but you get the idea.

Great company, too! and just to clarify, any difficulty in hearing each other was not due to the acoustics of the room but rather by the ample space we were all afforded (making the people at the ends of the table sort of distant).


Susan said...

I should have said oh. my. doG.