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Although ink. opened in late 2011, I hadn't been yet. It was on my list of places to go but time got ahead of me. So after spending a week in DC before the holidays and eating at a few Top Chef contender restaurants (Range by Bryan Voltaggio and Graffiato by Mike Isabella), it was time to hit ink. by Michael Voltaggio, winner of Season 6 of Bravo's "Top Chef". ink. is a casual place with a edgy decor but a cozy feel.  The menu offers a small plate format which is great because you get to try lots of different things.  And, ink. is all about different. The cuisine is cutting edge, using new techniques. And, the descriptions on the menu are only scratching the surface.  When our server described each dish, it was hard to keep up with exactly what processes the ingredients have undergone before they land on the plate....but whatever they were, we liked the results!
I continue to marvel at how many great restaurants there are now in DC and it is actually difficult to chose where to go when I only have a few days in town.  On my last visit, I was able to make it a double "Top Chef Weekend". The first night we ventured to Bryan Voltaggio's new restaurant Range. The next night we ventured to Mike Isabella's Graffiato, which means "graffiti" or "scratched." I will be honest in saying that, as a loyal Top Chef viewer, Mike Isabella on Season 6 was not one of my favorite contenders. He was too arrogant for my liking and his dishes didn't seem to be as exciting as some of his competition (ie. the Voltaggio brothers). But, I became a fan of his when he was on Top Chef All-Stars and after eating at Graffiato, I can say with confidence that his food is exciting and flavorful.
RANGE is the newest restaurant to open in Washington. D.C.  Not much of a foodie town when I lived there over a decade ago, today Washington, D.C. has transformed into a food and cocktail destination. RANGE, led by Chef and Owner Bryan Voltaggio (Bravo’s Top Chef season 6 finalist) and an amazing team including co-owner Hilda Staples, general manager Steven Fowler, wine director and Master Sommelier Keith Goldston, beverage director Owen Thomson, chef de cuisine Matt Hill, pastry chef John Miele and pizza-maker Edan MacQuaid, is no exception. RANGE is a 14,000 square foot space located on the third floor of the Chevy Chase Pavilion. Located in a mall and surrounded by neighboring malls, the modern space shares an atrium with the Embassy Suites hotel and other retail shops.  However, it is not a hotel restaurant, or for that matter a typical mall restaurant.