Food

100 Best Restaurants 2012: Ray’s the Classics

From soulful bistros to high-gloss steakhouses, there's lots of good eating in DC, Maryland, and Virginia

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The arrival of the Fillmore concert venue has upped the foot traffic on this block–not that Michael Landrum’s steak-heavy restaurant needed it. Here and at his Ray’s the Steaks and Ray’s Hell-Burger in Arlington, Landrum has a knack for developing a following of loyal customers. Part of it has to do with favorites such as lump-crab-packed bisque and steak-tartare-topped deviled eggs. But much of the appeal is the absence of pretension–in summer you’ll likely see Landrum bumming around his restaurants in shorts–and a respect for value. Steaks are of very good quality, from the $19.99 hanger to the $35.99 behemoth of a rib eye called a cowboy cut. They no longer come with free sides, but in steakhouse land, $5 for mashed potatoes is a steal.

What to get: Blue-cheese-and-bacon salad; big, spicy diablo-style prawns; buttery, broiled crab royale; New York strip or porterhouse with bĂ©arnaise or brandy-mushroom sauce. In the lounge: Ray’s Hell-Burger imports including the bacon-and-swiss-topped Soul Burger Number One and the peppery, blue-cheesy B.I.G. Poppa; mac and cheese.

Open daily for dinner. Expensive.

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