I’ve dined at Family Meal restaurant two Sunday’s in a row! Family Meal is located in Frederick, MD, where my sister and brother-in-law reside. They’d told me about the restaurant several times, raving about the food. They shared with me that the restaurant was owned by former Top Chef contestant Bryan Voltaggio. I was familiar with Bryan because as a foodie I watch the Food Network, where Top Chef airs. In season six Bryan was the runner-up, losing to his brother Michael. I’d also dined at his restaurant Volt, also located in Frederick, and his other restaurant Range, located in the Friendship Heights neighborhood in Washington, D.C. Bryan has two additional restaurants in the area that I’ll visit in the future. Because I’d enjoyed dining at Volt and Range, I had no doubt that I’d enjoy my dining experience at Family Meal.
I headed to the restaurant with my family and on the way I mentioned that I’d be blogging about the restaurant. My brother-in-law asked me not to blog about the restaurant, as it isn’t widely popular, mainly because it is in a part of town that is currently being revitalized. He wants to ensure seating availability for he and my sister.
Upon being seated and receiving our menu’s (we’d already heard about several of my family’s favorite menu items) I was scoping out the decor, table settings, ambience, etc., which didn’t quite match the fare. It looked like a diner, but with a rustic decor. It also had several families dining, so it is very family friendly as the name implies.
We ordered our appetizers, which consisted of Deviled Eggs, Hoecakes with Pimento Cheese, Pepper Relish, and Bacon, and an order of Duck Fat Fried Potatoes accompanied with three very tasty dipping sauces. All three of the appetizers were very good. I especially liked the pimento cheese on the hoecakes. My daughter loved the duck fat fried potatoes so much that the next day she called me at work to tell me that she’d planned on returning to the restaurant just to purchase them!!
Between the four of us, we only ordered two entrees; Bryan’s Burger and the Shrimp and Grits. The burger was made with a fried egg, bacon, cheddar cheese, and avocado, which my brother-in-law ordered. He said it was good; and I must say it looked delectable! The rest of us ordered the Shrimp and Grits, which came highly recommended by my sister. I must say this version of shrimp and grits was one of the best I’ve ever had! The grits were stone-ground and so very creamy; they definitely know how to cook grits! The shrimp was very fresh; the andouille sausage had just the right amount of spice for my delicate palate (my tastebuds don’t do well with some spices), and the sauce was authentic. I absolutely loved the Shrimp and Grits!
The reason I went back the following Sunday was because Michael had never eaten shrimp and grits; which was hard to believe because he comes from southern roots. I wanted his first experience to be a memorable one. I thought I’d try something different although I really, really wanted the Shrimp and Grits; however, I am glad I ventured out from my norm of ordering familiar or favorite dishes. For the appetizer I ordered the P.E.I. Mussels and I had no idea what a treat they’d be. I’ve had P.E.I. mussels before, which are cultured in Canada on Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) and tend to be larger than other varieties, so I knew they would be full-flavored. They were steamed in a savory white wine, tomato, and garlic sauce and oh my goodness, that dish was delish! I highly recommend the mussels; I’ll definitely order them again!
For my entree I ordered catfish with heirloom beans, tomatoes, cabbage and tomato gravy. Tomato gravy? That was a first for me; but it was very savory. I really enjoyed the cabbage, it tasted pickled and I liked how all of the combinations of flavors came together. Great dish! It’s going to be a toss-up between this entree and the Shrimp and Grits on my next visit.
On my first visit I passed on dessert; however, this time I decided I had to experience a dessert. I chose the Banana-Butterscotch Pudding, which consisted of spiced shortbread, cream cheese mousse, and bananas. I totally misread or misunderstood what I was ordering as I expected a bread pudding. So I was initially disappointed when it arrived. But I must say it did not disappoint, especially because you can hardly go wrong with anything with bananas, because it is one of my favorite fruits. The pudding had several layers and it had just as many flavors, but it worked. I was happy that it came in a small dessert glass because I’m sure it was high in calories.
Family Meal definitely lived up to my family’s hype about the food; it is a great restaurant!