Our goal in opening VOLT had always been to have a restaurant that could accommodate any guest’s food budget. Ok no snickering and laughing please - I know what the perception of VOLT is. But really, have you tried VOLT express? Just the other day I had lunch at a deli - sandwich, water and a cookie $12.50. For a $1.50 more I could have upgraded my water to a martini and the cookie to a hazelnut pave and I wouldn’t of had to clear my own table. But I’m all for supporting my neighbors and I actually like delis. So there I was, sitting next to a couple business guys, listening to them talk about VOLT. Ha. More on their conversation later.
So in planning VOLT we divided the space and Bryan developed different menus priced for every diner. Snack menu/Express lunch in the lounge and bar. A la Carte in the main dining room for a mid- price diner. The tasting menus in the kitchen for those special occasion dates. And then came Table 21. Priced at $121/person, we imagined it would be reserved for those milestone anniversaries or the more adventurous diners amongst us. We certainly didn’t plan on seeing regulars here.
Not only do we now have regulars at T-21 but it seems to be a hit with children. Yes, I said it, children, and I’m not talking about guests with bad attitudes.
Look at my little friend here who was sporting the coolest pair of gold boots that evening. I’ve been coveting her gold boots for months now, haven’t been able to find any in adult sizes.
She tried every course and two thumbs up was the verdict on her way out.
And I am shamelessly going to print this email from a regular guest that I received the other day:
Hi Hilda and Chef!
Here is our testimonial for Table 21.
It was with excitement and anticipation that my husband and I approached Table 21 recently for our anniversary. I’ll have to admit that our eagerness was coupled with some apprehension: my husband and I had never experienced a 21 course chef’s tasting menu before. What if we couldn’t finish the courses? What if we were served something really weird? Would the atmosphere be stuffy and awkward? My husband is a vegetarian and so many times is faced with the predictable grilled-Portobello-mushroom-with-pasta-and-a-vegetable kind of dinner when eating out. Would we be looking at course after course of uninspired vegetable offerings from a kitchen more interested in wowing the carnivores?
We were seated promptly at Table 21 whose location in the kitchen (and I mean IN the kitchen) offered us an incredible view of our meal-in-the-making and one that intimately included us in the surprisingly quiet and calm hubbub of Chef Bryan’s domain. Upon sitting down, we were greeted by Neal, Volt’s skillful sommelier who presented us with the first of our 21 courses: a delicious gimlet made before us with lime and orange bitters and carbon dioxide that made quite a show out of our first course. Now, we’re not big gimlet drinkers, but that cocktail cleansed our palates with explosions of citrus and had us anticipating the next move. We weren’t disappointed…..this meal was amazing. I mean astonishingly, incredibly, mind-blowing amazing.
I wanted to snap pictures of each and every course as they were presented and described. How else would I ever remember the details in order to share this experience with hesitant friends who were content to let us trail blaze? In almost all of the courses, my husband’s vegetarian versions were not visibly discernible from my carnivorous ones. How is that possible? It became evident after only a few courses that every bit as much flavor and detail and care and skill went into his meatless dishes as went into mine.
From the prosciutto chips and rosemary crostini served with potato dip, to the carrot veloute, through the frozen arctic char pop wrapped in spun sugar (my husband enjoyed a rutabaga in the same fashion), this was FUN! And it just kept getting better……………..a wedge salad served with encapsulated dressing balls that disappeared when you stirred it together, a steaming bowl of caramelized onion consommé with frozen fois grois powder, angus beef plated like an artist’s palette with small dabs of delicious Yukon Gold mashed potatoes topped with various reductions in all colors of the rainbow surrounding the steak at the edge of the plate, and desserts that left us swooning (and giggling – pop rocks ROCK Chef!)
What a night. Here’s a snippet of our conversation as we tucked into the courses that seemed to never end: “OK, that was my favorite…………..OK now THAT was REALLY my favorite………… NOWWWWWWW, that was the best thing I’ve put in my mouth all night……………OMG, you HAVE to taste this………………………..”
To the very end of our 21 (although I’m pretty sure it ended up being 22 or maybe 23 if you count the yummy cookies we were given to take home) courses we were absolutely enthralled . Chef Bryan and his staff were warm, professional, engaging. The enthusiasm for Volt’s concept was palpable on all levels throughout the restaurant and we were made to feel welcomed and pampered at every turn.
Have we been back? Ohhhhhhh yeah. Lots. Lunch at the bar is a blast too but that’s another story. If you haven’t been there yet, make a reservation. It’s magic, I tell you. Volt is working magic.
Jimmy and Mickie O’Donnell
So if you’ve been wondering about T-21. Here it is. The experience put into words so much better than I ever could.
Back to the business guys at the deli - no kidding, a full half hours conversation about our bathrooms! Yes, that warrants a journal entry all on its own. Saved for another day.