RANGE, Chef Bryan Voltaggio’s much-anticipated restaurant opening on December 18 in the Chevy Chase Pavilion, is definitely a range—of Voltaggio’s cooking talents, of the options for eating and sitting, and of the meat cuts that comprise part of the menu.
In fact, at 14,000 square-feet, with seating for 300 and open kitchens at every preparation area, it’s not so much a restaurant as it is a mini-food court of eating, drinking and shopping opportunities.
At a media preview on Monday, Voltaggio seemed thrilled with his new digs, especially his enormous new kitchen, which he called “a chef’s playground.” And how’s he feeling, now that the project is finally complete? “I’m surprisingly calm,” he said. “That’s making me nervous.”
The range of possibilities at RANGE includes:
- Stations including a salumeria, rotisserie, raw bar, pasta area, wood-fired hearth and grill, bakery, coffee bar and dessert and candy counter.
- A large and interesting menu with items made from-scratch from each of those stations. For example, garlic sausage (salumeria); savoy cabbage with smoked carrot vinaigrette (rotisserie); striped bass ceviche (raw bar); kimchi linguini (pasta); cannellini bean, arugula, lardo and olive pizza (wood-fired hearth); veal heart (wood grill); ciabatta with smoked cream cheese and gooseberries (bakery); pistachio yuzu truffles (candy counter).
- A retail shop selling gadgets and kitchenware that Voltaggio uses in his kitchens. Among the items: Williams-Sonoma pots and pans, cutting boards, salad spinners, immersion blenders, microplane graters, mini-muffin pans.
- Glass-enclosed panoramic views of the interior of the Pavilion, which now features LCD-colored lights on the stairs, escalators and a large screen opposite the restaurant.
- About 115 staffers when the place is fully operational, with a number of Voltaggio pals from his days at Charlie Palmer’s Steak in downtown D.C., including Matt Hill, RANGE’s chef de cuisine.
- A wine list comprised of the two or three best wines from each country or wine-producing region in the world, making for a total of about 200 bottles, plus about 150 personal favorites of Voltaggio’s and Wine Director/Master Sommelier Keith Goldston’s. RANGE will ultimately stock about 500 bottles, costing from $20 to $1000.
- An intriguing craft cocktail menu, with ingredients made in-house. Example: The Vegan Sacrifice, made with Scotch, ginger, cayenne and a house-made veal stock ice cube.
- Counter, bar and table seating (the placemats look like rawhide), as well as an overflow seating section that can be used as a private party area accommodating up to 120 people, or smaller groups of 20 to 40 diners. The entire restaurant can also be rented out—for 325 sit-down guests, or 566 cocktail party goers.
- Lots of chefs and bartenders with serious tattoos.