[This post has been updated.]
Bryan Voltaggio’s Range is one step closer to opening as diners can make reservations for a “pop-in” preview at the Friendship Heights restaurant as of 5 a.m. Friday.
The three-night preview is planned for Dec. 15-17 at the Chevy Chase Pavilion, which is nearing the completion of a reported $32 million renovation. Range will occupy 14,500 square feet of the mall’s second floor (that’s Range with the papered-over windows in the above photo) with seats for almost 300 diners and a full bakery.
Meat will be the primary focus, the Volt chef and “Top Chef” alum said, but he’s planning a large menu — more than 40 dishes on an 11-by-17 sheet of paper — with Matt Hill, who opened Charlie Palmer Steak with Voltaggio in 2003, as chef de cuisine. Range will have stations dedicated to pizza and pasta, breads and even — a holiday wish come true? — chocolate.
“We are going to be celebrating meat,” Voltaggio said, but that doesn’t necessarily mean bigger is better; in-house butcher Julien Shapiro, formerly with Society Fair, will emphasize smaller cuts to encourage a variety of tastes and textures in each meal. Some of these cuts will be dry-aged in Range’s special case, which will concentrate the beef’s flavor without developing the bacterial crust that can turn off some eaters.
“I get bored. I want to try other things,” Voltaggio said, describing the experience of bellying-up to a 20-ounce ribeye. Diners will have the option of choosing from four- or five-ounce cuts, small enough to allow for grazing on other parts of the menu. The average check will land somewhere in the $50 to $60 range per person, he said.
The restaurant will serve dinner only at first, Voltaggio said. “Eventually, we’ll get in to lunch.” The restaurant’s official opening could occur Dec. 18, but a representative said the date is still pending. In the meantime, book tables for the previews through Range’s Web site and follow @VOLT_RANGE on Twitter.