Small Plates, Big Space
Friendship Height’s newly opened RANGE does food on a large scale. With 14,000 square feet, the restaurant houses wood-fired ovens, a raw bar, cocktail bar, in-house bakery, candy shop, kitchen appliance store- not to mention a vast menu and the big name of Top Chef runner-up Bryan Voltaggio.
RANGE’s expansive, well-lit layout looks out with a curving wall of glass onto the Chevy Chase Pavilion’s atrium. While waiting to place orders, patrons can view the hustle and bustle of the Pavilion below, take a peak at their food in the making at the open-aired mini-kitchens, or find ample people watching opportunities among the 300 seat dining area. The scope of the place is awesome and the total view grand.
Rest assured, RANGE’s size is not compensating for anything. Their small plate menu is a laundry list of taste made for the hungry. Divided by kitchen of origin- there are eight- the menu can seem daunting at first with all that quantity and promise, but if you start in the top left and keep on picking your way through the kitchens, you’ll have a good meal amassed in no time.
These cheddar-jalapeno biscuits with pepper jelly made for a warm and spicy start.
Raw bar aficionados will find no shortage of pink and fresh gifts from the sea. Locavores can enjoy Rappahannock oysters and Eastern Shore shrimp. I settled on yellow fin tuna topped with soy and lime, set in a mini-garden of avocado droplets.
At RANGE, you can find yourself overdoing the appetizers very quickly. Even still, passing up the cheese platter seemed a far greater sin, and after grazing through every cheese to ever age, I can say it was an indulgence worth committing.
You might think I had my fill with the platter, but cheese has a such a winning way about it that goat cheese ravioli propped atop a hearty pile of braised meat ragu did not seem at all unreasonable or redundant. And it wasn’t.
At this point in the meal, I had to decide whether to stop eating or loosen the belt. Fortunately, once this guy rolled out of the kitchen that became a non-issue. Pizza impresario Edan MacQuaid, who manned pie duties at 2Amys and Pizzeria Orso, has lent his talents to RANGE and is making darn good use of their wood-fired ovens.
Plan to RANGE
Like the Grand Canyon, RANGE is just something you have to see. Its clean and economical expanse boggles the mind and its bottomless menu widens the eyes. Just make sure you bring an appetite to match!
5335 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20015
By: Richard Barry, Food Editor