Last week, I took my boyfriend to Bryan Voltaggio’s latest restaurant, Range, for his birthday. Note, I’m providing a link to the website because if you Google it, it doesn’t come up within the top searches. His marketing/digicomm folks might want to work on their search engine marketing. But anywho…
I’d heard a lot about Range since it’s opening in mid-December 2012 and was excited to see what all the fuss was about. I’d been to Bryan Voltaggio’s restaurant, Volt, in Frederick, MD and definitely was thoroughly impressed with both the atmosphere, food, and cocktails so I figured this new restaurant had to be good.
We arrived for our 6:45pm reservation on a Thursday and the place was still fairly empty. They took our coats and ushered us to our table. The place is warmly illuminated with beautiful and unique lighting fixtures.
While there was ample seating available, the host decided he wanted to seat us at a two-seater right smack dab in the walkways by the kitchen. My first thought was you can’t be serious. As he placed our menus on the table, I gestured towards the front of the restaurant and asked if we could be seated closer to the windows. He responded, “Those seats are for reservations.” I was like, “Yes, we have reservations.” Then in a somewhat condescending tone, he retorted, “It’s for VIPs”.
I looked at my boyfriend like what is this guy talking about. It’s a restaurant in Chevy Chase and the windows look out into an Embassy Suites and a Starbucks, not the waterfront, seriously. Since it was his birthday I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it so I looked over towards the wall (less than 5 feet from where we were standing) where there were four open two-seater tables and asked if we could sit there instead. He complied. Still shaking my head.
Within a few minutes, we were greeted by our server and his trainee. For our cocktails, I ordered the Mexican Warhead a mezcal drink mixed with apple, strawberry, apricot and vinegar. I typically like mezcals but this was very smoky and the smokiness overpowered the fruitiness of the drink. Boyfriend ordered the Urban Conformist, which was practically an Arnold Palmer with vodka.
The menu at Range is pretty extensive and they offer numerous selections meant for sharing. For starters, we had the skillet cornbread with bacon marmalade. Anyone who knows me, knows that I L-O-V-E bacon so of course I had to get it. When I tell you I could eat that cornbread with the side of bacon marmalade every day, I would not be exaggerating. The consistency and the sweetness are giving me a foodgasm just thinking about it. Yumm!
Next we ordered two salads, he had the beet while I had the lettuce with bacon and blue cheese. His salad was so pretty I almost didn’t want to eat it. The beets were small and looked like heirloom tomatoes. I’m not a fan of beets but they were mild and tasty. My salad was pretty interesting as well. There wasn’t much dressing on the plate but between each of the lettuce bunches there was a vinegary substance infused within them which made for a pleasant and tangy surprise.
For dinner, I ordered the hanger steak with a side of sweet potato puree and he had the lobster mac and cheese. My steak was cooked medium and it was the perfect portion size to share. It was lightly seasoned, definitely could have used a little fresh ground pepper. It was also topped with 2 grilled peppers that looked like serrano peppers, but they weren’t hot at all. Boyfriend’s dish was delicious! The pasta used was a wheat kind in a shape neither of us had ever seen before, he called it “pasta with a mohawk”. It was mixed with a nice blend of cheeses and topped with practically an entire lobster tail, that was cut in half. It literally melted in our mouths.
By this time, we were full but the guy with the candy and confections carts made his way over to our table. He took nearly 4 minutes to explain each and every item on the cart, which included everything from truffles to their own homemade marshmallows. We ended up selecting 4 of the bite-sized, hand-dipped chocolates and truffles. My favorites were the salted caramel and the raspberry thyme. We finished off the meal with a cappuccino.
Overall, I was pleased with the meal and the pace of the service. I will say I was disappointed that I’d indicated on Open Table that we were celebrating a birthday but they never acknowledged it. Although the food was excellent, the host definitely left some what of a bitter taste in my mouth.
There’s no doubt we will go back. I just hope for one they find a better host and hopefully the new servers will be all trained up and more knowledgeable about the menu.
5335 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20015