It’s been eleven years since I lived in Frederick, MD, so when Lindsay asked me to preview Frederick Restaurant Week, I jumped at the chance! Visit Frederick was kind enough to host us, as we moved through five of the sixteen participating restaurants; their excitement about the town, and all of the other activities Frederick has to offer, is contagious.
So, if you’re in the surrounding area — West Virginia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Gettysburg, Pa., it’s time to make your reservations for Frederick Restaurant Week, running March 5-11, 2018.
If you weren’t already aware, the food and drink scene in Frederick is bustling, with four distilleries, 10+ craft breweries, 10+ vineyards (Elk Run is a favorite of mine), and more than thirty restaurants in the downtown area alone. Don’t worry if you don’t have time to visit everything, because many of the restaurants downtown serve local brews, vintages and spirits.
Sample Frederick’s culinary scene
If you’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of restaurant choices available in the area, Frederick Restaurant Week is a great way to dip your toe into the culinary scene. Restaurant Week in Frederick runs from March 5-11, and features sixteen participating restaurants; each restaurant offers multiple courses, for both lunch and dinner, at fixed prices. The participating restaurants include optional wine, craft beer and cocktail pairings to perfectly round out your dining experience.
Our Frederick Restaurant Week tasting experience consisted of a progressive dinner, comprised of five courses, each of which served at a different restaurant downtown.
Frederick Restaurant Week – Starters
Located along the Carroll Creek Promenade is the Wine Kitchen, featuring locally grown and sourced dairy, meat and produce in their impressive menu selection. Whenever there is a beet salad offered on a menu, I’m called to order it, and this was no exception. The Beet Salad was just the right amount of sweet, countered with the citrusy bite of a bed of arugula, with goat cheese mousse and chocolate cardamom soil providing a nice, savory touch. My husband is a big fan of the pig, so the Pork Belly was his choice, and it did not disappoint. A small sampling of unctuous maple glazed pork belly was nestled in a cradle of floriani polenta, and drizzled with chili oil and maple reduction. I peeked over and saw my husband close his eyes with a bite, so I knew it was a winner!
A short walk from the Wine Kitchen sits Lazy Fish, secreted away with a side alley entrance, perched atop a Thai restaurant. For late afternoon on a Saturday, Lazy Fish was bustling, a sure sign that our second course was going to impress. We were lucky enough to get the last of the Thai iced coffee, and slowly sipped as we waited for our course.
I chose the Tuna Poppers, which were a warm flavor explosion, with a mix of spicy tuna, cream cheese, eel sauce, with spicy mayo, sriracha and jalapeño adding the perfect amount of residual heat. My husband opted for the Salmon & Octopus Carpaccio, which was a piece of art on a plate. The beautiful colors were just as bright as the dish tasted, proving that the simplest of things are often the finest. Shaved salmon and octopus shared the plate with mango and cherry tomato, with lime juice, olive oil, sea salt and pepper bringing out the seafood’s natural flavors and letting them shine.
Just steps away from the Lazy Fish sits JoJo’s Restaurant & Tap House, where were to sample their main course offerings for Frederick Restaurant Week. I went with the Pepper Steak, which was simple, yet oh so flavorful. Tender slices of steak sat in a green peppercorn brandy sauce, which I mopped up with mashed potatoes and asparagus. My husband went a little more decadent, choosing the Foie Gras Burger; a half pound burger, smeared with foie gras and truffle mayo was the perfect play on elevated simple food — he ate every bit of that burger!
I’m really glad we headed to Firestone’s for dessert, because I’d eaten there several times, but never made it to their dessert menu! Firestone brought out two platters with a sampling of the deserts they’re serving during Frederick Restaurant Week, which featured a Chocolate Terrine, Almond Créme Brulee and a Baked Apple Cobbler with Whiskey Ice Cream. Pure heaven my friends, pure heaven! Créme Brulee is not something I typically order, but the custard was unbelievably smooth, creamy and light. The Chocolate Terrine came with fresh strawberries, with créme anglaise and a strawberry coulis on the side; the terrine was delightfully rich, while the créme anglaise and strawberry coulis served to add a little tartness to balance the rich chocolate.
Our final stop was at Volt, a restaurant my husband has wanted to try for years. I liked the fact that Volt is serving a savory course, in the form of a cheese plate. Wedges of local goat cheese shared the plate with fig jam and honey, dotted with walnut brittle and micro-basil. I opted for the Peanut Butter Cremeux, which was a delightful combination of textures and flavors. Peanut butter cremeux, soft in the middle with a caramelized white chocolate shell, was accented with crunchy bits of freeze-dried peanut butter and a silky concord grape mousse. Each plate at Volt was beautiful to behold, and we appreciated the thought and purposefulness of each ingredient that made up our individual plates.
If that’s not enough to tempt you, consider the fact that there are 11 more restaurants participating in Frederick Restaurant Week! For more information on participating restaurants, visit FrederickRestaurantWeek.com.
** Food items were provided at no expense to us, for the purposes of this blog; all opinions are my own.
Lauren B. Stevens is a freelance writer and editor, whose work can be found across the internet, on sites such as WeZift, Good Housekeeping and Care.com. When she’s not creating content for businesses, Lauren dabbles in creative nonfiction, and her essays are published in multiple print anthologies. You can find out more about Lauren at laurenbstevens.com, or connect with her on Twitter — @LaurenBStevens.