100 Best Restaurants 2009: Ray’s the Classics

No. 54: Ray's the Classics

Cuisine: Supersize cowboy and Hereford steaks—house-aged and expertly trimmed—are the draw at Michael Landrum’s modest steakhouse, but they keep good company with dishes that pay homage to Maryland’s rich culinary heritage, including crab bisque and an inspired crab royale.

Mood: This spinoff of Ray’s the Steaks in Arlington is bigger, fancier, and more comfortable. Oversize booths impart a clubby feel in one small room, while wooden beams and bookshelves lined with wine bottles make a larger space cozy.

Best for: Diners who value serious steaks over opulent decor, quiet success over a dog-and-pony show, and three dollar signs over four.

Best dishes: Juicy, thick entrecôte; decadent crab bisque; crab royale, a generous, butter-drenched mound of lump meat sprinkled with Old Bay; hanger steak; creamed spinach; tangy Key-lime pie.

Insider tips: Portions are likely to leave you too full for dessert, making the small mug of complimentary hot chocolate that arrives with the bill in winter welcome. Want a meal that’s an even better value? The bar offers three courses for $23.95. The prime burger, aged and ground in-house like the steaks, is a hefty ten-ouncer imported from Ray’s Hell-Burger in Arlington. It can be enjoyed at the bar here—with a beer and without the lines.

Service: •½

Open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner. Moderate to expensive.

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurant

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.