Ray's to the Third
1650 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22209
11:30 AM to 10:00 PM
Nearby Metro Stops: Rosslyn, Court House
Price Range: Moderate
Reservations: Not Needed
If a Washington restaurant touts comforting helpings of Americana, it'll usually set you back a hundred bucks or more for two. Not so at meat maverick Michael Landrum's latest restaurant. You'd have to hit one of the area's many ethnic mom-and-pops to find a place of comparable value.
The decor is nonexistent--it actually looks unfinished--and service is more pleasant than polished, but neither is the reason you come. You come for an experience that evokes the heyday of the old Hot Shoppes chain--but with better ingredients and more attention to detail. The thick, charred steaks, platters mounded with great fried food, and creamy milkshakes are powerful enticements in a time of tightening wallets.
What to get: Landrum's signature crab bisque; Gusher burgers, a pair of six-ounce patties sandwiching cheese of your choice; hanger steak; a platter of fried shrimp, cold-smoked fried chicken, and fries.
Open daily for lunch and dinner. Moderate.