100 Best Restaurants 2012: Ray’s to the Third

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


If a Washington restaurant touts comforting helpings of Americana, it’ll usually set you back a hundred bucks or more for two. Not so at meat maverick Michael Landrum’s latest restaurant. You’d have to hit one of the area’s many ethnic mom-and-pops to find a place of comparable value.

The decor is nonexistent–it actually looks unfinished–and service is more pleasant than polished, but neither is the reason you come. You come for an experience that evokes the heyday of the old Hot Shoppes chain–but with better ingredients and more attention to detail. The thick, charred steaks, platters mounded with great fried food, and creamy milkshakes are powerful enticements in a time of tightening wallets.

What to get: Landrum’s signature crab bisque; Gusher burgers, a pair of six-ounce patties sandwiching cheese of your choice; hanger steak; a platter of fried shrimp, cold-smoked fried chicken, and fries.

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Moderate.

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.