100 Best Restaurants 2009: Ray’s the Steaks

No. 31: Ray's the Steaks

Cuisine: Whether you go for the hulking cowboy cut, the Guinnness-marinated short rib, or the fajita-style sirloin, you can be sure that Michael Landrum’s beef, which he butchers himself, will be excellent. It’ll also cost less than at the big-boy steakhouses.

Mood: Landrum is moving his steakhouse to a much bigger space down the street, where one dining room will have the same stark feel—skull-and-crossbones flag and all—as the old Ray’s the Steaks and another will echo the mood of Silver Spring’s supper-clubby Ray’s the Classics. One big change? The restaurant will start taking reservations by phone.

Best for: A budget meal that still feels special.

Best dishes: Seared scallops seasoned for garlic lovers; deviled eggs filled with steak tartare; crab royale; hanger steak with thick béarnaise or luscious mushroom-brandy sauce; picanha, a churrascaria cut that’s as flavorful as a hanger steak and as tender as a New York strip; rib eye with creamy horseradish sauce; the 28-ounce cowboy cut.

Insider tips: Ray’s hanger steak has always been one of the best deals in town—$19.95 gets you a sizable cut of flavorful meat plus the creamed spinach and mashed potatoes that come with every entrée—and now Landrum has implemented a steak menu with eight cuts for less than that price.

Service: ••

Open daily for dinner. Expensive.

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurants

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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.