Food

100 Best Restaurants 2008: Ray’s the Classics

No. 37: Ray's the Classics

Cuisine: Many of the clever retro classics are back—including steak-tartare-filled deviled eggs and crispy fried chicken (the latter a frequent special in the dining room)—but as at Michael Landrum’s original, Ray’s the Steaks in Arlington, the well-tended slabs of aged, prime beef remain front and center. The steaks are cooked with more conviction than at other beef barns—and they’re cheaper, too.

Mood: Despite the white tablecloths and backdrop of dark wood, there’s an everyman quality to the setting, the opposite of clubby steakhouses such as Morton’s.

Best for: Steak lovers who prefer their rib eye without the pomp, and pre- and post-AFI-screening crowds.

Best dishes: Crab bisque thick with lump crab; beautifully crusted entrecôte; robust hanger steak; rosy rack of lamb with velvety red-pepper sauce; crab royale finished with butter and seasoned with Old Bay; not-too-nutmeggy creamed spinach; dreamy mashed potatoes; tart Key-lime pie.

Insider tips: That fabulous fried chicken is also offered as part of a three-course bistro dinner at the bar for $22.95. Unlike Ray’s the Steaks, Ray’s the Classics takes reservations. Request a table in one of the two back dining rooms rather than in the drafty bar and annex. Don’t dwell on starters or desserts, but revel in the well-seasoned, well-aged prime steaks and deftly done sides.

Service: ••

Get Our “Brunches This Weekend” Newsletter

The best breakfasts and brunches to try every weekend, plus our most popular food stories of the week.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

SIGN UP
We engage readers directly in their mailboxes with topics like Health, Things to Do, Best Brunches, Design & Shopping, and Real Estate. Get the latest from our editors today.
Get The Best Of Washingtonian In Your Inbox!