Jump to content
jandres374

Range, Chevy Chase - Chef Matthew McGhee Replaces Matt Hill, GM Jon Barry Replaces Steven Fowler in a 14,000 Square Foot Space

Recommended Posts

I was invited to go with a couple of friends to Range on the 19th. Good thing I'm going before anyone else leaves.

:wacko:

The way I read the article, he'll still be there on the 19th (presuming he typically works Sundays).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last Sunday evening, four of us went to Range to try the Restaurant Week menu. I wasn't sure what to expect. In addition to the less than stellar reviews on this thread lately, I had been scanning Washingtonian's Very Best Restaurants issue while waiting in line at Giant a few hours prior to our dinner reservation, and noticed that Range was conspicuous in its absence. I was aware it was the last night for Chef Hill's tenure at Range as well. 

We had a 6:15 reservation, and on our arrival (after scoring a great parking space across the street) we were escorted to a banquette table across from the wood-fired kitchen. Caveat:  The RW menu seems to have been "disappeared" from the internet, so I have to rely on memory for the following descriptions.

I was driving, so instead of a cocktail, I had a glass of their ginger beer, which was wonderful, and seemed to be pure ginger that had gone through a juicer. One of my companions had a drink that I can't remember the name of, but it had "Oak" in the name. We all tried a sip (as we would share all of our dishes), and agreed it was tasty and complex and went down very easily.

We decided to spring for the bread basket from the regular menu that came with five different spreads, and it was worth it. My starter was the Little Gem salad, and I appreciated that the blue cheese did not dominate the dish, which is usually the case when I order a wedge salad. The tomato puree made a very nice dressing, and the lettuce was fresh and lush. Another member of our party ordered the roasted beets, which contained both golden and red beets. Someone else ordered the roasted carrots, and I really liked those too. I've never met a roasted carrot I didn't like.  I regret that I can't recall the 4th appetizer.

On to the entrees. I ordered the sirloin steak with shitake mushrooms that came on a bed of grits. Loved the mushroom and grits, the steak was flavorless, despite being cooked to medium rare as requested. I didn't finish it. The person sitting next to me ordered the Hangar Steak medium. It arrived less than rare, and was sent back. When it came back to the table, it really wasn't much better than it's original state, and the diner had lost interest in it by then. Another person ordered the octopus, which seemed to be a grilled tentacle over a bed of pasta. His wife didn't like it, as she thought it was too salty, but he was fine with it. I didn't try it, but now regret that (I'm not a seafood person, especially if it's the least bit "exotic", and I have a low bar for that term).

His wife ordered the dish we declared to be the hit of the evening"¦the Goat Cheese Ravioli. It was absolutely delicious. When ordering, the sole male in our group sprung for a side for the table of the grilled cauliflower with olives and dates. Meh, we had consumed too much food to appreciate it by then, and I thought it the cauliflower was pretty much raw with grill marks, making it a disappointment.

For dessert, I ordered the apple tart with cinnamon ice cream. Some of us felt that the ice cream needed more cinnamon. The tart was presented on a light biscuit and was good. The guy ordered what turned out to be two cookies that were like brownies, one of which was a blondie with macadamia nuts, and it came with two different scoops of ice cream. That didn't get finished despite the aid of the entire table. I'm afraid I don't recall the other two desserts.

I did have one glass of wine with dinner, and the sommelier who came to our table was fun to talk to. The other two women had seen the movie "Som" and a lively conversation ensued. Not wanting to entirely defeat the concept of RS, we ordered a bottle that was around 33 dollars, and was pretty darn good.

Service was friendly and attentive, and we made sure to tip accordingly. All of the employees we had contact with were cordial. We enjoyed the totally unpretentious atmosphere of Range (the guy with us was in jeans"¦no problem).

As for the steak issues, I chalk it up to the fact that something has to be sacrificed to offer RW prices. Or perhaps beef is not their strong suit. I will have to return to explore the menu further as there were several things I wanted to try, and will be glad to go back to do so. 

Loved the dim, spacy restrooms!!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see I missed some discussion of this awhile back.  I'd only had cocktails here before and never looked at the wine list until the other night.  I was shocked.  I don't think there's a restaurant anywhere in the area with lower wine markups (If there is, I'd like to hear about it).    Even at the low end*, the markups are unheard of in DC.  We ended up with a fantastic Tuscan blend recommended by the sommelier (blanking on the name right now).

*And you can go pretty low. I think I even saw a sub-$20 bottle or two.   One example that caught my eye, as it was recently a wine-of-the-week at Calvert Woodley: Laura Hartwig Cabernet, which retails for about $16.  Any other place, this would easily be marked up to $40.  At Range: $22.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The sommelier described to us how the restaurant will buy large amounts ("palletloads") of wine if the price becomes reasonable enough to pass on to the customers. He told us what the markup was, but I can't remember. It was definitely reasonable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any updates on Range or Aggio?  Planning on making an outing with friends in the 'hood.

Thinking now that Palena is gone I better get around to some other places.... ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any updates on Range or Aggio?  Planning on making an outing with friends in the 'hood.

Thinking now that Palena is gone I better get around to some other places.... ;)

If Matthew McGhee is Chef de Cuisine and John Miele is Executive Chef, what is Bryan Voltaggio?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the bar is pleasant, especially for happy hour. the in-laws would go here about once a week before they moved to CA, and we would join them occasionally. Food and drinks are good; but nothing in particular pulls me from downtown DC to go there.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any updates on this place? 

I was just talking about Range tonight with friends.  It certainly doesn't have any of the buzz it used to.  I went for brunch recently and it was good.  Nothing special, but good.

I wonder about dinner at this point.  would love to hear from anyone who has been lately.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Went for dinner on Saturday night. I'm not one to overly fixate on atmosphere but it was pretty depressing. It's a big place with tons of seating and multiple cooking stations in plain sight. So when the seats aren't filled and the cooking stations are underutilized or dark, it's noticeable. Plus there's the desolation of the mall itself, which wasn't such a big deal when the place was packed but becomes a further drag now that it's not. The food itself was good in spots, such as the de-boned and butterflied branzino, but mostly felt faded as well. I hope they can fix things because the vibes aren't good.

You can read my full report, which I took no pleasure in posting, on my blog:  https://rickeatsdc.com/the-saddest-restaurant-in-washington/ 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎3‎/‎28‎/‎2017 at 2:38 PM, Pork Belly said:

You can read my full report, which I took no pleasure in posting, on my blog:  https://rickeatsdc.com/the-saddest-restaurant-in-washington/ 

Great write-up!  I remember when this was on my "must-go-next" list until life intervened and I never ended up getting there.  Some of those pictures remind me of the slide shows I've seen on abandoned places.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our family went for the first time to Range, and my experience echos much of what has been already written above.  The least serious issue (for us, but certainly not for the restaurant) was the lack of other diners.  It feels like a mausoleum, save for the kind and attentive servers.

Temperature of the dishes were still tepid. 

Biggest disappointment was the charcuterie plate.  Meats were ok.  Some of my cheeses actually had a sour aftertaste.  Not a high volume item?  I was intrigued by coming back for a happy hour and order the seafood tower, but the charcuterie really spooked me.

Went to 2 Amy's the next day, and my six year old observed how much better the pie was vs what he had the night before at Range.  Sniff, they grow up so fast . . .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×