Well Dined

25Feb/150

Volt – Valentine’s Day Menu

I know I've been really slow in posting, but that's been because of traveling and (drumroll please) buying a house! We are in the process of moving and decorating and all of that, so posting will still be delayed for a bit.  But then I expect to be back in full swing, and with a much better photo set-up.  So until then, here is a review of the Valentine's Day menu at Brian Voltaggio's Volt in Frederick, MD.

We've been wanting to try out Volt for years, in particular their Table 21 chef's table, but just never made it.  But we finally made a commitment and braved the icy conditions and  hour drive to come for Valentine's Day dinner.  We were a little disappointed to see that they did not offer valet, especially because of the weather, but we were able to find street parking 1 block away (free after 5 on Sat).  The decor is sophisticated and clean, and the staff are very professional.

For the holiday, they had a 7-course prix fixe menu with optional wine pairing (7 2oz pours).  The pacing was perfect, as was the amount of food - just enough to allow you to explore the flavors, but not enough to grow tired of the dish. I wasn't struggling to finish at the end like with some tasting menus.  I was driving, so my husband ordered the wine pairing and I had a sip with each course to test the pairing. They were all excellently paired, though my favorites were the whites in the beginning.

Amuse Bouche - oyster with salmon tartare, "tartar sauce", dill. Paired with Sparkling Rose.

Beets, burrata, celery, lemon - very nice, bright, fresh. Paired with Gruner Veltliner (Austria).

Black bass, sunchoke, apple, fennel - very interesting, German flavors I would normally pair with pork or chicken, perfectly cooked. Paired with Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre).

Lobster, celery root, abalone mushroom - lovely, perfectly cooked. Paired with Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast).

Foie Gras, truffles, arugula, salsify - a decadent mousse, the favorite course. Paired with Pinot Noir (Ladoix) - we were concerned when we saw this on the menu, because we thought the foie would be seared, and we prefer it with Sauternes.  But the light Pinot was actually perfect with the chilled mousse.

Beef short rib, coffee, chocolate, guajillo - described as a take on mole, each of our least favorite course, but still good (just not as good as the other courses). Paired with a Granche blend (Chateaneuf du Pape) - also our least favorite wine (but again, still good).

Dried cherry, elderflower vinegar, buttermilk - pretty cool, a cherry macaron frozen with liquid nitrogen and shattered with a St Germain gelee (yum) and a sweet buttermilk. Loved this. Paired with a Rose (CA).

Almond cake, banana, caramel, yogurt - wasn't impressed by this one. The cake was moist, and sitting on creme anglaise, but there wasn't a ton of flavor and I didn't think the caramelized banana frozen yogurt (good on its own) went with it very well. Paired with a Sauternes.

We were also each given a box of 4 chocolates (2 of which were awesome, 2 of which were okay) and I was given a rose.

I was very impressed by the food, the service, and the price - very reasonable.  I also really liked the atmosphere - old townhouse turned serene and modern inside.  I would love to come back and try Table 21 (but not when the weather is that bad - nightmare).

7May/140

2941 as of 4/25

Seasonal restaurants like 2941 change their menu all the time as new products become available (for example, here is a post from last Summer), so I like to try to keep stopping in and see what is new.  Here is a look at the menu as it was at the end of April.

Well Dined | 2941 Restaurant

Beef Tartare with baby kale, cornichon, Dijon mustard, fried potatoes.  Those potatoes were pretty killer.

Well Dined | 2941 Restaurant

Tart with mangalica ham, creme fraiche, and onion.  Good, but not great - I probably wouldn't order it again.

Well Dined | 2941 Restaurant

"Lobster Roll" with tomato gelee and avocado.  Very light and refreshing.

4Nov/130

Harth at Hilton Mclean Tyson’s Corner

I'd been meaning to try this restaurant for a while, but it is inside a hotel which always makes me wary - overpriced and mediocre quality are the norm.  The website claims that the chef is devoted to farm-to-table cooking and that they have an organic garden that provide herbs and produce and that they use local meats - I'm a sucker for all of that.  So I finally just went over there for lunch to try it out.

My first impression was that the space is GORGEOUS - modern, impeccably designed.  The hotel is very modern and upscale on the inside, too - which you cannot tell from the outside.  The restaurant is long and narrow, with huge windows that run down the entire length of one side and provide lots of light during the day.  When you enter, you walk past the kitchen with wood burning stove (hence the name) on the right and a large, glass-encased wine room on the left.  The dining room is decorated with pearlescent white leather, pale green, and purple alligator print - very modern and luxe.  There are glass fireplaces set at intervals throughout, just in case you forgot the name of the restaurant.  It's very trendy and modern and I totally love it.

Now, the food - good quality with inconsistent pricing.

Well Dined | Harth

The lobster roll is what brought me here over the summer.  The quality of the lobster salad was good and the buttery brioche bread was tasty, but as usual the ratio of bread to lobster was too high.  Red Hook Lobster Pound really has spoiled me for life.  I wasn't a big fan of the house chips - nice crunch but no flavor.  The pickles, however, were fantastic - and served in an adorable tiny jar with a tiny spear fork.

Well Dined | Harth

This turkey sandwich is very much Thanksgiving-esque with caramelized onion, cranberry mayo, and their signature bacon jam.  That isn't deli turkey, either - it is big slabs of roasted turkey breast.  Huge, delicious, good value.

Well Dined | Harth

The fall agnolotti was very good, too, wit brown butter, crispy sage, lemon ricotta, and walnuts.  I didn't see any figs though, which are listed in the description.  Here's where the prices here get a little wonky - that giant turkey sandwich was $13.50, and this tiny appetizer sized pasta (which is billed as an entree) is $16.  I mean - what?

Well Dined | Harth

My husband said he liked this turkey chili with white beans, cheddar, creme friache, and hot sauce.  But I thought it was overpriced - $20 for a bowl of chili, just because it's listed as a main instead of a soup or appetizer.

Well Dined | Harth

Here is an example of the uneven pricing that swings the other way, thank goodness.  This giant dessert of fresh made butterscotch pudding (served warm) with scotch soaked pound cake, salted caramel sauce, and fresh whipped cream is enough for 4 people, easy - and it's priced the same as the other desserts!  It is ridiculously decadent and delicious and I love that they serve it in a pot with the little Le Creuset spatula.

Well Dined | Harth

We also got to try a free dessert that the chef was working on - angel food cake with more of that salted caramel and whipped cream.  When I saw it I thought - boring.  But it was actually really good.  The thing with simple dishes is that each component has to be top notch, and that was the case here.  Now I get why the chef wanted people to try it for free - you might not order that if you saw it on the menu, but once you knew how good it was that would change.

Well Dined | Harth

Here's an insider tip - if you check in using the Yelp app, you will get a coupon to take home a little jar of bacon jam!  Do it - it's fantastic.

My takeaway from Harth is that the main plates are overpriced, so stay away from those.  Stick with the creative sandwiches, huge salads, and wood fired flatbreads.  If you are with a group, definitely get that butterscotch pudding.  And take advantage of the fact that Mon-Fri any glass of wine is $8.

http://www.hiltonmclean.com/Harth

19Jul/130

2941

I've written about 2941 before (here and here), but not since they revamped their restaurant to be a little more casual and less intimidating.  We had been checking their ever changing menu online, but nothing really caught our eye until recently.  Then, all of a sudden, the whole menu matched what we were craving and off we went!  Be aware that this menu is from a few months ago.

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Steak tartare with basil, Parmesan, toasted bread, and micro greens.  This is really a 1 per person size, and trust me - you won't want to share.

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Zucchini fritters with a feta and mint dip; salmon carpaccio.

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Beet salad (sorry for the fuzzy photo - somebody was impatient to eat it).

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Tuna tartare with avocado, crispy shallots, and jalapeno.  I was actually I little disappointed because the avocado was more like guacamole, which wasn't what I was looking for.  But by no means was it bad.

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Asparagus ravioli with white asparagus, mint, thyme, burrata, and Parmesan.

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Duck confit ravioli with tomato jam and fiddlehead ferns.

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Yummy steak fritte dish.

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Strawberry shortcake with coconut, shredded phyllo, and white tea ice cream.

Overall, everything was as fresh and beautiful as it's always been and the more relaxed atmosphere was refreshing.  I don't think the remarketing has done any damage to 2941 and I hope it helps to bring in more people.

30May/130

Sea Pearl Restaurant, Mosaic Center

The new Mosaic Shopping Center in Merrifield, VA is super cool.  There's a Target, an indie movie theater, a gym, boutiques, and cafes.  Sea Pearl is one of the larger, less casual restaurants in the center.  The website describes it as "Asian inspired modern American cuisine."  The main focus is seafood - they have both cooked dishes and sushi - but they also have some meat dishes and a pretty good brunch (on Saturday, too, which I love).  It's quite large and the decor is really lovely.  It's a little on the feminine side, which would make it perfect for ladies' brunch or girls' night out (the drinks are good, but with DC prices).  I've never seen it packed, so large groups could be seated easily.

Let's start with Brunch, because that is what I go for most often.

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Cinnamon churros with warm chocolate dipping sauce: these are super awesome - hot, fresh, crunchy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside.  Love it.

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Ricotta fritters with honey and seasonal fruit (this time it was apple): these are good too, fluffy and rich.  If you had to choose only one pastry though, I'd go with the churros.