Leaving D.C. to dine outside the city is hard. With so many tracks to cover (*Toki, Little Serow, etc.), I rarely jump at the opportunity to feast outside the city limits unless Chef Bryan Voltaggio is involved. Chef Voltaggio has created an unparalleled buzz in Washington with his restaurant Volt, in Frederick, MD. Just in case your not understanding the gravity of this situation, Frederick, MD can feel like the other side of earth for some of us in the District. To have patrons flocking to check out the restaurant housed in one of the historic row-houses of downtown Frederick is quite an accomplishment.
In efforts to acclimate myself to my new wheels of the week, the GM Cruze, I volunteered to carpool with Girl Meets Food to get a taste of Chef Voltaggio’s other restaurant venture, Lunchbox. After the navigation got us through the hour long traffic in D.C. rush hour, we arrived to Lunchbox. Lunchbox exudes its title: simply a place to gather and have lunch.
Basic décor with cafeteria style trays finished in a modern brushed nickel and rows of picnic style community seating invite diners to have a casual lunch with casual food.
Soups, grilled cheeses and classic deli sandwiches leave few surprises on the menu but the prices do: $3 soup is unheard of in this area. Soup in D.C. can cost you half of your weekly lunch budget when you’re craving the quality that Chef Voltaggio is distributing at Lunchbox.
Feeling over the moon because Chef Voltaggio had just personally made my grilled cheese, I paired it with McCutcheon’s Grape soda.
Ok, so here’s another secret about me, I loooovvvee grape soda and McCutcheon’s IMMEDIATELY stole my purple heart. Made in MD, I love the fact that Lunchbox is supporting local companies and that I can have a direct connection to the best grape soda in the world (*trust me, I’ve tried the best of them). Pleased and thinking the night was over, my group decided to take a detour to Volt. I was not going to pass up this field trip.
Volt is divided into three distinct parts: bar, dining room and chef’s table. My time was limited and my funds were low so the chef’s table was totally out of my range but the bar sufficed for my immediate needs, which were to try some of the libations and taste some of the menu. The Betsy, which is Volt’s take on “American Pie”, was a sweet twist of apple, pear, cinnamon and vanilla vodka with a foam egg white topping.
The bar bites were a glimpse into what must be a divine feast in the actual Volt dining room with features such as venison, ravioli and the grilled hanger steak.
Stuffed and facing a 20+ mile commute back to the city, I left Frederick Restaurant Week with thoughts of returning at least on an annual basis. It offers a serene transition from the hustle and bustle and with contenders like Volt and Lunchbox on the menu, they give many D.C. restaurants a run for their money. Lucky for me I will not have to wait long for Chef Voltaggio to bring his talents into the D.C. scene, Range, his newest restaurant venture is slated to open in Chevy Chase. After this experience, I’ll be the first in line.