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Feb 1, 2010 10:03 AM

Volt - Question re: 'The Chef's Kitchen' Reservation

Just made reservations for dinner in the 'Chef's Kitchen'. Looking for input from anyone who has been there recently re: the 'kitchen experience'. Are the tables positioned so you can actually see what's going on in the kitchen? Also, feel free to comment about the food, definitely interested to hear about that.

Meal a Month project is coming along well and thanks to the folks who have provided great suggestions. January was Restaurant Eve, this month is Per Se, next month The Inn at Little Washington, April is Volt - working on May and thinking of getting into the District just not sure where yet.

Thanks again for all the great input.

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  1. The chef's kitchen I presume are four tables in the kitchen area. You will be able to see most everything within the kitchen including the expediting station and line. There is a prep area that will be out of line of sight.

    16 Replies
    1. re: sekelmaan

      I'm not sure from the OP's description if they have reservations at "Table 21"- the set-up sekelmaan describes, or if they have reservations in the "chef's dinning room". I'd be interested in a description of the chef's dinning room, we had reservations there for this Sat. but got snowed out! Very depressing. But I just rescheduled for April (the soonest they had open for the chef's dinning room on a Sat.). I'm pretty sure Table 21 is booked even farther out, which makes me suspect OP's reservation is for the dining room. But this distinction will make a difference in finding out which dinning experience you'll have, just a tip.

      1. re: mjhals

        Table 21 is booked more than a YEAR out, so it must be the "chef's dining room" that the OP is referring to.

        1. re: DanielK

          Hi - the reservation confirmation I received from the restaurant says 'Chef's Kitchen' and when I made the reservation I was told that the table is in the kitchen so you can 'see all the action'. Definitely not Table 21. I've sat at a couple of kitchen tables where you really can only see the chef expediting rather than the line so am curious as to the set up at Volt.

          mjhals - my reservation is in April on a Sat as well!

        2. re: mjhals

          Table 21 is adjacent to the expediting station. The room expands out and there are four more tables. I presume this is the chef's dining room as you can see into the kitchen from those 4 tables.

          1. re: sekelmaan

            Great, thanks for the info. Looking forward to it.

            1. re: 3crazydogs

              Table 21 is different not only because of its location (literally in the middle of the kitchen) but also for what is served to you. It is called "21" because it is 21 courses of which a number will be only tastes. Still, actually sitting in the MIDDLE OF THE KITCHEN rather than looking at it from 20' away is a different experience. The four tables in the "Chef's Kitchen" (which is really a dining room adjacent to it) may be a wonderful experience but simply this is not Table 21. In both of our visits to Table 21 we love his food but it is the physical location of the table that puts it over the top.

              If you are not able to get a seat at Table 21 I would strongly suggest Enzo's Chef's Table at Teatro Goldoni which may actually be superior for what is on the plate. There are several courses which are his interpretation of what is served at the incredible Combal O which is Italy's version of El Bulli. (i.e. "eggshell with shrimp" and "cigar box"). This is a table which is immediately adjacent to Goldoni's open kitchen where you are personally served by Enzo. It is an extraordinary experience. I put Table 21 a shade above it because, again, of Table 21's physical location in the middle of the "action." For myself, if I am going to sit adjacent to any kitchen it will be at Enzo's. I believe it is superior to Komi, MiniBar, "The Inn" or any other D. C. dining experience.

              Again, I am ONLY talking about Enzo's Chef's Table. We have not eaten in Goldoni's dining room in years and have no opinion about it. Enzo's Chef's Table is also 18 or so courses and tastes.

              1. re: Joe H

                They've got 8 more months, they should do both Volt's Chef's Table and Enzo's Chef's Table!

                Volt's non-Table 21 offerings still make for some damn fine dining.

                1. re: reiflame

                  Joe H and reiflame - thanks for the input and I thoroughly agree - we've got 8 more months, can't hurt to do both of them!

                  1. re: reiflame

                    Volt is an outstanding restaurant on its own. I just wonder what it would be like on, say, Pennsylvania Avenue? Would it be even better? Would Table 21 at, say, 7th and Penn be THE dining destination in the United States?

                    Could this be a possibility?

                    I believe that with the return of Roberto Donna in late March, the emergence of Enzo Forgione and Johnny Monis along with Eve, CityZen, Palena, Vidalia and several others Bryan Voltaggio on Pennsylvania avenue would help lift the top level of dining here to equal any other in America.

                    Now, if Fabio would come back...

                  2. re: Joe H

                    We loved Table 21 a couple weeks ago. Wish we had gotten there before all the hype. I intend on trying Goldoni's Chef table soon.

                    1. re: Joe H

                      Sadly I was told by Teatro Goldoni today that they have parted ways with Chef Enzo....very disappointing since I had a reservation for the Chef's table this Saturday night.

                      1. re: ChrisVA

                        That is bad news. Hopefully, he'll be staying in the area.

                      2. re: 3crazydogs

                        I called back in October even before Bryan had made it to finals on Top Chef and the earliest I could get Table 21 for a Friday or Saturday was in July. I believe what DanielK says above is true that it is probably over a year wait now. So maybe you hit them on your 2011 Meal a Month. I have reservations at the Chef's table at Teatro Goldoni next week and will be at CityZen in April so will report out on all three after dining.

                        1. re: ChrisVA

                          I've had my table 21 reservation since November and the earliest i could get was July 3.

                    2. re: mjhals

                      Made it to Volt this weekend, and had a great experience in the Chef's Dinning Room! Was truly a fun experience to go to such a "destination" restaurant and see Bryan from TV (it's dorky, I know, but it was pretty cool to see him working away in the kitchen after seeing him on TV week after week).

                      Like I said, we'd originally had reservations in Jan. on my birthday, but got snowed in. When we rescheduled, we got the first reservation available, April 10th, which also happens to be our 6-month wedding anniversary, so that was a nice coincidence.

                      The food was a lot of fun, and very good, and the experience is very...just very. Lots of waiters, wine people, servers that are very...very serious, very knowledgeable, and very interested in the food there giving you. It can be just a little overwhelming, half the time I couldn't remember what I was eating after they'd described it. Looking back, I wish we'd kept a copy of the menu during dinner to check to remember what we were eating! When we arrived, our table was actually a table for four, with two seats facing the open kitchen and two facing away. Obviously the point of such an open kitchen is to see all the cool stuff going on, and they'd set place setting at the two seats facing the kitchen. But my husband didn't notice that and sat across from me, like normal, with his back to the kitchen. I thought that was pretty funny, and the waiter was a little taken aback that someone wouldn't want to face the kitchen, but husband quicly got right and sat next to me.

                      Dinner itself was 7 courses, with some fun extras thrown in (my favorite was the little bite of arctic char ceviche, was not as thrilled with the apple-butter filled meringue with flavored salt, it was just a little weird). Soup was a mushroom soup with sabayon (again, can't remember what the sabayon was flavored with, but it was rich and subtle and a good fit with the mushroom soup). Then I had the duck liver pate/mousse (supplement), which was good and a lot of fun, but while the mousse was rich, I didn't get a lot of strong duck flavor. The dish is fun though, dotted with a variety of little gels and "glass" that you combine on the toast they provide (good, home made brioche, I believe). And for once there was enough bread for all the mousse, I never seem to have the right bread to "stuff" ration, but this dish did.

                      Then we had the arctic char with...with I have no idea. Couldn't quite catch all the fun accompaniments that came along, but the fish was absolutely perfect. Just a perfect 2X4 rectangle of fish with delicate sauces around the fish. This was probably my favorite dish. Next was the quail, which was also good, again paired with sauces that I can't remember. Here, the sauces were the star, as the half quail was pretty tiny and still on the bone, so hard to get a really meaty bite. Still, it was another fun dish. Final dish was a wonderful piece of sirloin, perfectly cooked (I think sous vide style as it was super-moist, with no discernible sear on the outside and uniform doneness throughout- and it was a perfect, textbook medium rare). Served with a bit of what looked like barley risotto and a reduction (red wine prob). I loved this dish, but my husband thought his was a little salty. I had the wine pairings and he didn't (driving) so I think the wine really helped the dish come together, which is cool, I don't know much about wine, other than I love it with food, and this was a dish that really showed how a dish can be improved with wine.

                      Then a dessert course with peanut butter chocolate ganache, peanut butter ice cream and some sort of peanut crumbs that were obviously made in some cool way that I couldn't figure out. We also had a perfect cup of french press kona coffee.

                      All in all, it was such a fun night, and not just due to the "gimmick" factor of seeing someone cook for you that you're used to seeing on TV, but really because the food is so fun, and so well-prepared and just well thought out, it's a nice change from a typical restaurant experience. It's not something I would seek out on a regular basis, but it's a fun change, and it was a beautiful day and a nice drive out to Frederick.

                  3. i posted pics on my site from our recent Volt Table 21 experience...


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: coweepooh

                      Cory, your Volt Table 21 post is on the second page of your blog. Here's a more direct link:


                      3crazydogs, we really enjoyed the food at Volt. Table 21 is almost impossible to get into, although they told us they were thinking of expanding it from 4 seats to 8 seats. As you can see from the pictures on Cory's blog, Table 21 is essentially the bar around the kitchen. Your experience, "The Chef's Kitchen", will be in the same room -- just not at the bar. Also, from what I remember, there is a good amount of overlap between the content of the courses. It's a fun and delicious time. I hope you enjoy it!

                      1. re: petercoolz

                        Thanks for the info - we're really looking forward to it. I'll let you all know how it goes. This weekend we're off to The Inn at Little Washington - I'm ready to leave right now!