HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
What's your latest food project? Tell us about it
TELL US

exceptional restaurant(s) in/near Frederick MD

f
feelinpeckish Oct 6, 2008 02:11 PM

Need suggestions for the stated area for a family get together (party of 4) in early December 2008. None of the popular far east ethnic cuisines will do. American, italian, steak etc are OK . Any help?

  1. gumbrinus Dec 18, 2008 02:35 PM

    My top four in Frederick in order of their exceptional qualities:

    1) Volt for food, atmosphere, and ambience. This is not only the best restaurant in Frederick, it is competing for honors of the best dining experience in Maryland. In this case, it's more about pleasing the palette than stuffing the stomach.

    2) The Tasting Room for service, food ,and for people watching through the pane glass windows that overlook Market Street. Yes, it does get noisy on the weekends ... not nearly as bad during the week. But they have a small private dining room where they will seat a party of four or more if you request in advance when you make your reservation.

    3) Monocacy Crossing for food. This is a solid choice and a definite local's favorite. The country inn decor has never appealed to me as much as the more modern atmosphere of the choices above, but the food rarely disappoints. Service is good but not memorable.

    4) G Hunter's for seafood. Owned by the same group that owns the Tasting Room Brewer's Alley, and Isabella's. Service is adequate, the menu is limited, and atmosphere is hotel/country club. But the seafood is wonderfully prepared, always fresh, and a solid value.

    Other honorable mentions include Acacia for Sunday brunch, Brewer's Alley for beer, and Cafe Nola for coffee and lunch. Isabella's is fun, especially if you sit at the bar, but the tapas do not compare to the best of DC. I have tried the Orchard twice and while I appreciate the vegetarian options, I simply don't get the excitement about this place.

    1. s
      SheriS Oct 13, 2008 09:01 AM

      Just came back from Frederick. Had dinner at Brewer's Alley. The food was very good with a lot of choices on the menu. This is not upscale dining -- such as Volt -- but it is good, traditional food. We had the rockfish/steak dinner and the sasuage with sides of potatos and apples. Both were really good. Service was a little slow, but the place was mobbed on Saturday night. We had good beer, so we didn't mind!

      2 Replies
      1. re: SheriS
        w
        winerific Nov 25, 2008 04:07 AM

        We had Thanksgiving dinner at Brewer's Alley and it was one of the most depressing meals of the year. Having said that, Isabella's is a pretty good spot. The fried bacon-wrapped figs are pretty awesome. Plus they do flights of sherry, which you can't find anywhere else outside of DC.

        1. re: winerific
          f
          flavrmeistr Nov 25, 2008 10:41 AM

          Agreed. The noise level in Brewer's Alley is insane. The service is indifferent and the food is pricey but unremarkable. It looks great on the menu, but the product doesn't live up to the promise. They just don't try that hard. Isabella's has some great wine deals throughout the week and some of the small dishes are quite good, though not always the ones you would bet on. Although it's a popular place (especially at happy hour) and therefore crowded, people aren't shouting and screaming at the top of their lungs like over at Brewers. Fewer drunks at the bar as well.

      2. j
        jakkwylde Oct 11, 2008 01:27 PM

        Maybe check out The Comus Inn right at the Frederick/Montgomery county border. They often have some reasonable specials different times of the year. They also have a $68 family dinner for four during the week that is a heck of a deal! http://www.thecomusinn.com

        3 Replies
        1. re: jakkwylde
          f
          foodcheck Oct 12, 2008 08:08 AM

          Not a lot of great places. I like Isabella's (Spanish and tapas). Better deal than anything similar in DC, with great weekday happy hour and dinner specials. (May be a little too adventurous for pure steak eaters?). Monocacy Crossing OK but not not as impressive as its pretensions. Brewers Alley is mediocre except for the beer - OK for kids and the unadventurous, but OK for a family since any palate will be satisfied if not dazzled. I am avoiding Volt - sounds like the typical overpriced yuppie joint recommended by Tom S.

          1. re: foodcheck
            DanielK Oct 13, 2008 07:34 AM

            I found Isabella's to be pretty poor - comparable in price to Jaleo in DC, at 1/2 the quality. Brewer's Alley was decent and moderately priced, but the best meals there have been the beer/food events, not dinner from the menu. I thought the Tasting Room was not very good - with wine tax and tip you can easily drop $100pp there, putting it in line with all but the best places in DC, but the food was not NEARLY up to the cost. Very overrated, IMO.

            While I have not yet been to Volt, I had a number of excellent meals at Charlie Palmer Steak in DC when Bryan Voltaggio was the chef, and all the reports from my friends have been very positive about their trips to Volt.

            1. re: DanielK
              l
              lawhound Oct 13, 2008 08:46 AM

              Agree with other posters about Isabella's and disagree with DanielK. I would say food at Isabella's is no more than a half step below Jaleo in quality, and usually on a par with it. We have stopped there several times when driving back to Balimore from the west, and the food has always been good+ and more often v. good.

        2. f
          flavrmeistr Oct 7, 2008 06:23 AM

          Can't go wrong with the Tasting Room or Monocacy Crossing, Peck. The New York strip au poive at the TR will knock your eyes out. Excellent local beef. Very good wine list as well, with a Marchese de Barolo for an unbelievable $24. Reservations are a good idea.

          2 Replies
          1. re: flavrmeistr
            j
            jrl2929 Oct 7, 2008 07:07 AM

            We went to the Tasting Room a few weeks ago and I would not call it exceptional. The food was good, but not to the caliber I think you might be looking for. I would definitely call it an upscale pub type place. I think the only really high end restaurant in Frederick (downtown) is Volt. We didn't eat there, but did have drinks, and the ambiance is lovely. As for the food, I can't say.

            1. re: flavrmeistr
              l
              Lauman Oct 7, 2008 08:44 AM

              The Tasting Room is ok if you have absolutely no interest in conversing with your dining companions. Otherwise, you will spend the evening shouting and leaning across the table trying to hear. That tends to seriously interfere with my enjoyment of the food.

            2. l
              Lauman Oct 6, 2008 07:04 PM

              The newest and most haute cuisine restaurant in Frederick is Volt which was just reviewed this past Sunday by Tom Sietsema in the Washington Post and he gave it a very good review. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/26/AR2008092602858.html

              Monocacy Crossing is another good choice -- long-established restaurant on the south side of town with good food and low-key atmosphere -- not nearly as pretentious as Volt.
              http://www.monocacycrossing.com/

              1 Reply
              1. re: Lauman
                f
                flavrmeistr Oct 7, 2008 06:15 AM

                Volt is fine if you're not hungry. Tasting Room and Monocacy Crossing are very good choices. Hinode on Carroll Creek has decent sushi. South Mountain Inn is a neat place, but the food is too salty for my taste. Lucky Corner at Market and Seventh has pretty good Vietnamese food. Acacia has interesting quasi-asian seafood dishes. Isabella's has a wide variety of tapas and small plates, plus some great wine deals on Tuesday nights. Il Porto on South Market is a decent Italian place. The best thing about downtown Frederick is that you can do it all on foot. Too many bars and clubs to mention. A pub-crawlers paradise.

              2. s
                small fry Oct 6, 2008 05:08 PM

                We like the Tasting Room but it gets really loud which is fine some nights and can be annoying on other nights (depending on our mood). We have been going to Monocacy Crossing pretty regularly and really enjoy it.

                1. 4
                  42duffy Oct 6, 2008 04:30 PM

                  http://www.brewers-alley.com/ or http://theorchardrestaurant.com/ both in downtown historic district

                  1. k
                    kejaja Oct 6, 2008 02:32 PM

                    It's been over two years since we ate there, but my husband and I had a few really nice meals at the Tasting Room. I still crave their Lobster Whipped Potatoes with Chive Butter occasionally. I remember the steak being very good as well. It's located in the historic area of downtown Frederick.

                    http://www.tastetr.com/

                    1. h
                      Hue Oct 6, 2008 02:24 PM

                      Exceptional is a pretty strong word but try The Old South Mountain Inn In Boonsboro
                      http://www.oldsouthmountaininn.com/

                      Show Hidden Posts