The word "range" can take on several meanings: the plains, an oven or mountains. For executive chef Paul Nagan, the word connotes all three when it comes to the concept of Range restaurant, opening tomorrow in the Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center hotel at 918 17th St.
The New American West eatery, housed in the historic former Colorado National Bank building, looks to celebrate the cultural heritage and adventurous spirit of the Rocky Mountain region. With an emphasis on seasonal and local ingredients, the focus will be on ranch-style cooking, utilizing techniques like grilling, smoking and wood-oven roasting.
Nagan, an honors grad from the Johnston & Wales College of Culinary Arts, has done stints throughout the country and most recently was executive chef for six years at Zink Kitchen + Bar in Greenwood Village. His contemporary take on a Western saloon is reflected in a menu structured from shared and larger plates. Items like candied habanero bacon and hickory barbecued oysters serve as starters, while larger dishes such as Colorado lamb belly or sea scallops with sweet potato puree, asparagus and poblano truffle oil (punctuated with smoky bits of tasso ham) also round out the offerings.
Range's beverage program has a strong emphasis on local, featuring six craft beers on draft, including Countinghouse cream ale—similar to a lager but made with ale yeast—and brewed exclusively by Former Future for the restaurant and hotel. Beverage and food director Tommy Lloyd plans to utilize one pour as a discovery tap, rotating out seasonal beers in two- or three-barrel quantities. First up is a selection from Tivoli Brewing: Sigi's Wild Horse. There will also be four Infinite Monkey Theorem wines on tap, in addition to a strong syllabus of Colorado whiskeys.
The Stonebridge Companies, which owns and operates the hotel, purchased the property in 2009. Many original elements of the building—such as metal beams and the marble floor—were retained, as well as 16 murals from artist Allen Tupper True. Sitting at the Teller Bar in the atrium lobby, guests have a view of these works of art. There are also private dining rooms housed in the old bank vaults.
Within the restaurant is another bar, in addition to a casual seating area where diners can sneak a peek into the kitchen and at the wood-fire oven. The Western aesthetic is expressed through an orange-and-brown color palette and the use of reclaimed barn wood.
Range will be open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
· Range [Official website]
· Paul Nagan Left Zink Kitchen + Bar, Will Begin Cooking New American West Menu at Range [EDen]