Woman Around Town | May 2nd, 2011 | Visit the original article online
Goosebumps] “I’ll have a Hell Burger. Grilled; medium. Bleu cheese, cognac-sautéed mushrooms, bacon and grilled onions, please. Sweet potato fries and an RC. Thanks, Nick!” Nick is the weekday, evening bartender. He’s great! Kind, attentive, knowledgeable and . . . kinda cute too! And he promptly brings my ice, cold sweating glass of Royal Crown (RC) soda.
Now how many places do you know of that still serve RC as opposed to Coke and Pepsi? Downtown Silver Spring’s Ray’s the Classics is such a place–boasting many a characteristic and menu item that shouts them out from the norm. Sitting at the end of the bar, I groove to the usual 50s-80s soul music and jazz that fills the space at a level comfortable enough to fall into; and enjoy the quiet hum of conversations had by businessmen at the bar and in the Bistro seating area. I’m so pleased to have heard about this place–because that’s the only way one would truly know of Ray’s existence. Their clientele is the perfect advertising machine, spreading Ray’s greatness by word of mouth. Michael Landrum’s Ray’s the Classics is one of five spin-offs from his original Ray’s the Steaks in Arlington, VA. Each location has received rave reviews and a loyal and growing following.
Enough with the formalities, let’s get back to that burger that is on its way to me and that will envelope me with a joy and satisfaction that rivals satiated midnight chocolate cravings and therapeutic shopping sprees. Yes, it’s just that serious. Now for a couple of fair warnings: Please do not enter this establishment under the belief that you will be able to count calories and practice portion control. Your efforts will be futile. You would have to deem this a cheat or reward meal (depending on whether you are a glass-half-empty or half-full sort of person). Additionally, do not eat anything within 4 to 5 hours prior to your Ray’s experience. You must allow for ample belly room to truly indulge and appreciate what you are about to embark upon. This burger is massive and diving into it requires napkins at the ready. Juicy, bursting with flavor and aroma–it’s a total sensory enjoyment. Through my order above, you know one of the ways that I choose to enjoy my Hell burger, but one could opt to have their burger prepared au poivre, blackened, or spicy diablo style, with a host of toppings and sauces. And the burger menu continues with the black-peppercorn crusted B.I.G Poppa and the Soul Burger Number One. There are options upon options for your burger grubbing pleasures, so please–partake!
Because May is National Burger Month, I simply had to give honor to Ray’s Hell Burger. But I would be completely remiss (and just down right ashamed of myself) if I didn’t mention Ray’s steaks and all the other fine goodies at this establishment. After all, it is a steakhouse–not a burger joint.
I haven’t had ONE THING at this restaurant that I don’t simply adore with mouth-watering gratification! From the Hanger Steak on the Bistro menu to the 28 oz Cowboy Steak (yes, I went there and lost the battle with a sweet and satisfying defeat) to the rib-eye to the sirloin to the filet mignon to the mashed potatoes, the macaroni and cheese, the creamed spinach, the chocolate mousse, the Shiraz (they have EXCELLENT taste in Shiraz!) and right on down to the warm, spicy cashews! I mean heaven!!! Just pure, sweet happiness personified and honed through beef and side dishes.
The steaks are cut upon the placement of your order. The beef is aged fabulously and comes in a vast variety of cooking and seasoning styles with a host of condiment pleasures. You can eat the same steak at least seven different ways at Ray’s. And from the first cut to the last bite, you would think that surely you’ve discovered Xanadu or Shangri-la. No . . . seriously. I’m so not playing with you. Just . . . ridiculously yummy! The Bistro Menu available at the bar and the Bistro first-come, first-served seating area has an amazing selection of affordable meal specials — however, if you can, don’t deny yourself the full dining menu. Yes — you must make a way to partake of both! (Well, not all in the same visit.)
The one thing that hurts my feelings just a little bit is that they don’t serve the wine – that THEY made me fall in love with – by the glass anymore. Rafferty’s Angel’s Share’ Shiraz. pause for effect and harps However, it’s not their fault. The maker of the wine has pulled back on production and, at least, they still serve it by the bottle. Their replacement (Snake Charmer) Shiraz by the glass is also just as yummy!
Thus, with this outpour of tummy-driven emotion, I implore you – go! See Ray. Fall in love with him and his staff! Vow to keep Ray’s a part of your regular dining life henceforth! Else be banished to Burger King and Outback forever!!!