100 Best Restaurants 2008: Ray’s the Steaks

No. 43: Ray's the Steaks

Cuisine: Natural aged Angus and Hereford beef is butchered, trimmed, and hand-carved on the premises before being charbroiled at Michael Landrum’s bargain house of beef.

Mood: So stripped-down is this white, bare-walled dining room that the bottles of wine lined up in front of the kitchen could pass for art.

Best for: Anyone on the hunt for great steak at bargain prices—without the frills and formality of a big-name steakhouse.

Best dishes: Burgundian onion soup gratin; intensely meaty hanger steak; a lean yet flavorful entrecôte; a “cowboy cut” 28-ounce bone-in rib eye with grilled onions and horseradish cream; creamed spinach in which you can taste the spinach; buttery mashed potatoes; tart Key-lime pie.

Insider tips: Even more budget-minded than the regular menu are Sunday’s community three-course dinners with tabs of $25, $30, or $35 per person depending on the steak you choose—$5 of which goes to charity. Creamed spinach and buttery mashed potatoes come gratis. To avoid waiting in line—Ray’s doesn’t take reservations—arrive between 5 and 5:45. You can order Ray’s steaks to grill at home.

Service: ••

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 Petworth.