100 Best Restaurants 2010: Ray’s the Classics

No. 47: Ray's the Classics

Cuisine: Michael Landrum is so obsessive about his aged, hand-trimmed Hereford steaks that he worries a customer might ruin one by ordering it incorrectly. The New York strip can be ordered “rare, medium rare, and medium only.” This might sound like the work of a control freak, but it speaks to what makes the place worthwhile—uncommon engagement from a passionate proprietor that shows up in everything from the cut-rate pricing to the loving odes to regional classics such as crab bisque.

Mood: The anti-steakhouse steakhouse. Harking to the egalitarian promise of the new Silver Spring, Landrum emphasizes accessibility and affordability. The supper-club-by-way-of-Ikea dining room tends toward austerity, but the place is almost always busy, especially pre- and post-movie—the AFI Silver Theatre is across the street.

Best for: Good dining without pretense.

Best dishes: Perhaps the area’s best crab bisque; crab royale sprinkled with Old Bay; among the steaks, the entrecôte and the hanger steak; jumbo diver scallops, blackened or wrapped in bacon; the ten-ounce Ray’s Hell-Burger with most of the fixings offered at the Arlington original; creamed spinach; tangy Key-lime pie.

Insider tips: In the bar area, a three-course Bistro Special offers soup or salad, entrée, and dessert for $23.95. For smaller appetites, the Petit Bistro Special—$18.95 for soup or salad, ten-ounce sirloin, and dessert—is an even better deal. Both bistro menus come with free mashed potatoes and creamed spinach.

Service: ••½

Open daily for dinner. Moderate to expensive.

See all of 2010's 100 Best Restaurants

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.