As we have mentioned before, our tradition is to spend each anniversary in a different city. For our 6th anniversary in 2016, we did something really special: we ate at VOLT’s Table 21.
This “goal” of celebrating our anniversary in a new city each year came about naturally after two or three years when we were in different cities without even trying. Since we tend to travel during the summer and we rarely travel to the same place twice, this is generally not a difficult thing to do.
(Disclaimer: When we link to places you can buy our stuff or places we stayed, we are using special codes which earn us commissions on the sales at no additional cost to you. Please see our Review Policy for more information.)
Updated May 2019
Why VOLT’s Table 21?
This year our itinerary put us in Gettysburg on our sixth anniversary. I used Open Table to search for a restaurant to make a reservation and VOLT, in Frederick, MD, about a 45-minute drive, was one of the first restaurants that came up in the list. While Gettysburg seemed like a fairly food-forward city, I guess they’re just aren’t that many places that accept reservations.
Volt is one of five restaurants co-owned by Executive Chef Bryan Voltaggio, a Top Chef and Top Chef Master’s runner-up. As fans of both shows, we are always excited about the opportunity to eat at our favorite “cheftestant’s” restaurants.
After we made our reservation via Open Table, we received a call from the restaurant asking if we wanted to dine in the main dining room, in the Chef’s kitchen, or at the Chef’s counter.
We decided to splurge since it was a special occasion and dine at the Chef’s counter. At VOLT, they call this Table 21, because it is 21 courses (including an optional drink pairing, which we splurged on as well). There is seating for eight at the counter.
Sitting at this counter was probably the most interesting dining experiences either one of us has had. We were right in front of Chef Demetrius, who put the finishing touches on many dishes and plated several outright. The cooking was done at another station, just behind him. It was interesting to see how calm the kitchen was and how clean they kept everything. Never any panic or chaos, though I guess having an audience helps with that!
We were able to talk to the chef about the dishes and the “weird” orders, such as when a vegan diner ordered “Tuna, No Tuna.” Apparently, the tuna dish is served with beets, so that is what the diner really wanted. We also exchanged some life stories and had a great conversation. This guy was amazing at being able to talk to us and also stay laser-focused on his work. Much of what he was doing was the details of placing the “toppings” with tweezers or setting the basil leaves on top at just the right angles. Very cool to watch!
We had one main server who greeted us at the beginning, served and explained most of our beverage and food courses, and generally just made sure we had a great night. There were a few others helping him and the service was absolutely flawless.
As soon as one dish was finished, they cleaned it up and got the next dish out right away. We received fresh utensils at the beginning of every course. Apparently, you can’t eat lamb with a fork that has also been used on ravioli! Each movement was made swiftly and with precision and we never felt like we were waiting or being rushed.
Starters and Fish
Ahhh, the food! As amazing as everything else was, the food was the real star!
We had starters of foie gras macaroons, lightly poached oysters, and tempura fried Maryland crab. This was the first time either of us had eaten foie gras, which was rich and delicious.
I am not a huge fan of oysters but slurped it down fairly easily due to the amazing preparation. The crab was a little “scary” in that it was a whole crab and you could perfectly see the entire “outline,” but it was absolutely delicious. These were all served with a glass of champagne that made Grant rethink his claim that it always tastes like dirty socks. This one was actually enjoyable! Yea, we know… You generally get what you pay for.
Following that, we enjoyed a bread roll made from the leftover grains from Exile Red Ale by Maryland’s Evolution Craft Brewing Co. It was, of course, served with the beer made from those grains. The bread was some of the best I’ve ever had and the beer was perfect! And, yes, that is ME saying that the beer was perfect! While I enjoy tasting all of Grant’s different beers, I generally do not like beer myself.
The fish dish, cobia ceviche (pictured at the top), was one of our favorites from the meal… sliced thin and topped with pepper slices. Yum!
The vegetable dishes were a roasted pepper, a tomato “steak,” and charred cabbage. I am not a fan of tomatoes. I’ve just never liked them. So that was definitely my least favorite dish. I did eat most of it, though, which is saying a lot. Usually, just one bite of tomato on a sandwich and I can’t handle it. For me to eat almost all of a huge slice of one means that it had to have been fabulously prepared!
Grant isn’t a fan of cabbage and was definitely a little uneasy about that course. His critique of it: “It was fabulous!” The wine served with these dishes was a very tasty sauvignon blanc that was aged in stainless steel barrels, rather than oak barrels, which definitely gave it a very light, clean taste.
Savory courses included octopus with chorizo char, goat cheese ravioli, rockfish with bok choi and kimchi and lamb. The octopus was perfectly cooked and not at all rubbery. The ravioli was another of my favorite dishes. The accompanying red wine was, again, a perfect match!
For dessert, we got a bonus course of a pineapple semifreddo with toasted coconut, followed by rhubarb with a mint ice cream, a chocolate plate, an orange creamsicle and finally, a tasting of four bites.
I am a dessert-loving girl, so this was heaven! The paired dessert wine was probably our least favorite part of the entire meal It was just too sweet for us. It did pair nicely with most of the desserts, though. You just had to sip it at the right time!
Final Thoughts on Table 21 at VOLT
Every part of this meal and experience was absolutely flawless. It was definitely the most expensive meal we’ve ever had and I’m sure we’ll be digging into savings to pay for it but it was worth it!
Frederick is located right near the borders of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, so if you’re ever in the area and want a fabulous dinner, head to VOLT!
We use Skyscanner to find deals on flights. Skyscanner has a great interface and compares tons of airlines for the best pricing and routing. That said, it does not always have every airline and some airlines will have better deals on their website. Still, Skyscanner is a great place to start.
Click here to search for a flight.
We typically stay at Hilton properties, so we use the Hilton website. You can find good Hilton Honors discounts or AAA discounts for a hotel there. We make great use of our free night certificates from our Hilton Honors American Express.
Click here to book a Hilton property.
If there are no Hilton properties available, we use TripAdvisor to read reviews and book the hotel. We find we can get the best price that way.
Click here to search for a hotel.
We recently partnered with Stay22 to add interactive maps to each of our destination posts. This will allow you to see a plethora of hotels and vacation rentals all in one responsive map of the area.
We use Vrbo for the times when we have rented a cabin for a weekend getaway, like this cabin in Townsend, TN, or needed to rent a house for a large family vacation. We had a great experience with them in terms of refunding deposits when COVID hit and will continue to use them.
Click here to search for a vacation rental.
As a general rule, we book with Hertz for rental cars. We have had nothing but good experiences with them. Plus, we really like unlimited mileage and not worrying about crossing state lines. We have even rented from Hertz overseas in both Slovenia and Croatia.
Click here to book a rental car.
We have found some amazing prices booking a cruise through Cruise Direct. We have saved a lot of money on our cruises compared to what we found elsewhere, making a last-minute Bahamas cruise even cheaper.
Click here to book a cruise.
We highly recommend Outdoorsy for RV rentals. We rented a camper van for a week to visit Rocky Mountain National Park for the elk rut and Custer State Park for the Buffalo Round-Up and had a blast. The program was easy to use and we really enjoyed the freedom of having a camper van for that trip.
Click here to rent an RV.
We don’t often book tours. Typically, we like to do stuff on our own. That said, there are some experiences you just can’t have any other way. So, when we do want to book a tour, we always check Viatour first.
Click here to book a tour.
We make extensive use of both Good Sam and AAA on the road. Good Sam is normally regarded as a discount card for RVers at campgrounds and Camping World but anyone can use the 5 cents off a gallon at the pump at both Pilot and Flying J.
Click here to get a Good Sam membership.
We have had AAA as long as we have been married and it has more than paid for itself in discounts at hotels, aside from the peace of mind of having roadside assistance. Add in paper maps and the ability to get an international driver’s license and it is more than worth it for any traveler out there.
Click here to get a AAA membership.