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Ray's the Steak, details?

chowser Oct 10, 2008 08:33 AM

There are quite a few good recommendations for it here so I'm going to try it out. But, there are few details and they don't have a menu online? Is there anything outstanding you'd recommend? Anything that should be avoided? About how much would it be for a couple, with appetizers, wine, entrees, dessert? What's the dress? Thanks!

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  1. littlew1ng RE: chowser Oct 10, 2008 08:52 AM

    Dress is casual, although you will see all walks there — usually the boyfriend will wear jeans and a button-down, i'll wear casual skirt, but it's not uncommon to see men in shorts/women in pants etc. I LOVE the sirloin with some spicy pepper chipotle sauce and bleu cheese, also the scallop appetizer is fantastic. The tab for us usually comes to around $70. Sometimes it's $50; sometimes it's $90 so i'd say $70 is average. never had anything bad there, don't know about stuff to be avoided, enjoy!

    1. m
      mjhals RE: chowser Oct 10, 2008 10:23 AM

      You just need to be aware of the phone reservation policy (ie- they don't take them), instead they open up a sign-up list around 4 pm, and you have to walk-in to sign up. The hassle is worth it though- the steaks are amazing! In that respect I would avoid anything that is not steak (I vaguely remember some chicken dishes on the menu, but why bother?). The quality of meat they use is excellent, so they don't really like it if you order it too over cooked (I think they start to sweat at anything over medium, and you can't even order some cuts above med). Do not miss the crab soup as an appetizer, but beware, it's very rich. Every meal comes with a free side of creamed spinach and mashed potatoes. For dessert I reccomend the chocolate mouse, I seem to remember they offered a choice of white, milk, and dark chocolate mouse- I had the milk chocolate and almost refused to share with my fiance it was so good! Wine list is great and I've found the servers to be knowledgeable about the selections. Definitely agree that you can get out of there for well under $100 for two people.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mjhals
        jaydreb RE: mjhals Oct 10, 2008 10:49 AM

        <<You just need to be aware of the phone reservation policy (ie- they don't take them), instead they open up a sign-up list around 4 pm, and you have to walk-in to sign up. >>

        Way to spoil the "secret"!

      2. d
        DC Taco RE: chowser Oct 10, 2008 10:50 AM

        Great posts so far. I would add the shrimp and scallop diablo appetzier, the hangar steak entre, and the key lime pie for desert.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DC Taco
          jaydreb RE: DC Taco Oct 10, 2008 11:16 AM

          All their steaks are good. The Chateaubriand for 2 is excellent.

          Just a note of caution. RTS puts a pretty heavy char on its steaks. If you don't like char (I don't) then make sure to tell your waitress "low/no char".

        2. chowser RE: chowser Oct 10, 2008 01:04 PM

          Thanks, everyone--my mouth is watering now. It all sounds great. Is it hard getting a table if we eat on the early side on a Saturday, like before 6pm? How long is the wait? I wonder why they're not online. It would make it so much easier.

          8 Replies
          1. re: chowser
            MikeR RE: chowser Oct 10, 2008 03:08 PM

            I don't know how much wait you'd have on a Saturday before 6, but I suspect it's not easy to predict. If you can't get a table within a reasonable time, you can go a few doors down and get a Ray's burger (which you'll find many reviews of on line here).

            The reason why Ray's restaurants aren't on line is because he doesn't need it and doesn't want it. He's kind of cranky about criticism of the way he runs his restaurants (don't ask why he doesn't serve French fries at the burger shop!) - he does it HIS way. But his way is mighty good.

            1. re: chowser
              Rick RE: chowser Oct 10, 2008 07:13 PM

              I'd also add that you seem to need to order the doneness of your steak one level higher than you normally would. I usually get medium rare but I ordered my NY Strip medium at Ray's and it came out just how I liked it. I think the menu said they cook to your desired doneness based on temperature and not the amount of pink.

              1. re: chowser
                DanielK RE: chowser Oct 10, 2008 07:30 PM

                If you get there by 5, you will definitely get seated right away. 5:30 is a crapshoot. 6pm, you'll be waiting a while.

                I heard that at 7p tonight the walk-up wait was over 2 hours!

                Again, the way to avoid this is to "make a reservation" - show up around 3p or 4p, and put your name on the list for the time you want, and then come back later.

                1. re: DanielK
                  chowser RE: DanielK Oct 11, 2008 11:46 AM

                  Great hints--thanks everyone. Can't beat all the ins and outs I've gotten here. We need threads like this for all major restaurants in the area. It would be great to have a sticky thread at top w/ lists of restaurants and hints for them. I'm trying to link to Rays the Steak but find it on the list. They do have Ray's Hell Burgers and Ray's Classics. Is there another name for it?

                  1. re: chowser
                    DanielK RE: chowser Oct 11, 2008 01:47 PM

                    nope - there are 3 different places. Ray's The Steaks (1725 Wilson Blvd, Arlington), Ray's Hell-Burger a.k.a. Ray's Butcher Burger (1713 Wilson Blvd, Arlington) and Ray's the Classics (Silver Spring).

                    1. re: DanielK
                      chowser RE: DanielK Oct 12, 2008 07:55 AM

                      But when you try to "link to a place" for Ray's the Steak, it doesn't come up, no matter what you type in. I've searched for "Ray" in "virginia" and the others appear but not Ray's the Steak. Maybe I'll ask in Tech help.

                      1. re: chowser
                        cheesepowder RE: chowser Oct 12, 2008 08:24 AM

                        Is this a link like you mean?

                        Ray's The Steaks
                        2300 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

                        1. re: cheesepowder
                          cheesepowder RE: cheesepowder Oct 12, 2008 08:26 AM

                          when I click that one I get an error. There was also a second link that came up, below. (well, that one gives me an error too). I typed in "Ray's the Steaks" and Arlington, VA.

                          Ray's The Steaks
                          2300 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

              2. f
                foodcheck RE: chowser Oct 12, 2008 08:29 AM

                It's good, but avoid the hangar steak - tough as a boot.

                7 Replies
                1. re: foodcheck
                  DanielK RE: foodcheck Oct 12, 2008 09:31 AM

                  Gotta disagree, strongly. The hanger is the best cut they offer! It's not tender like a filet, true, but there's no beefier cut of steak than the hanger.

                  1. re: foodcheck
                    alkapal RE: foodcheck Oct 13, 2008 05:36 AM

                    i wasn't crazy about the hanger special, "onglet", either. it had a good flavor, but it was a wee bit chewy for my taste. it was also sliced (vs. a traditional steak presentation) so it cooled sooner.

                    good thing we have different cuts to suit different tastes!

                    ray's sides are great. bearnaise sauce is OK. good wines at a reasonable price, imo.
                    anyone, where is the ray's the classics (part deux) we were anticipating in the navy league building?

                    1. re: alkapal
                      xdcx RE: alkapal Oct 13, 2008 07:02 AM

                      it's a relocation of the ray's the steaks to a larger space as far as I've read, nothing more.

                      1. re: xdcx
                        alkapal RE: xdcx Oct 13, 2008 07:03 AM

                        ok, thanks for that.

                        1. re: xdcx
                          DanielK RE: xdcx Oct 13, 2008 07:18 AM

                          That's mostly true - the Navy League space is significantly larger than the current RTS space. As I understood from the original plans (no idea if they're the current plans), the "new" RTS would be more like the current RTC (expanded menu, front room more casual with no reservations, back room takes reservations, etc.)

                          1. re: DanielK
                            kneelconqueso RE: DanielK Oct 13, 2008 07:35 AM

                            additionally, i read in another thread or article that the current rts is going to become a seafood restuarant. it promises to be very cheap as well.

                            i'm excited.

                            1. re: kneelconqueso
                              alkapal RE: kneelconqueso Oct 13, 2008 07:39 AM

                              kneelconqueso, that thread didn't go very far, did it? i was sooooooo hoping it is true!

                    2. t
                      thejavuar RE: chowser Oct 12, 2008 12:34 PM

                      As other posters mentioned, you need to put your name on the list in advance, and they can take your cell phone number and call you when a table is ready. We usually put our name down, then walk a block up to a bar (Rhodeside Grill I think?) and enjoy a drink or two while waiting.

                      The Sherried Crab Bisque is a must. Amazing. Pretty much anything on the dessert menu is also excellent (be aware the key lime pie is tart, not sweet). I have never had a bad steak there either, and I would never order over medium-rare (personal preference) as the meat is such high quality.

                      1. chowser RE: chowser Oct 20, 2008 09:36 AM

                        Thanks to all your advice, we had a great meal at Ray's the Steak. We showed up at 5pm and got a table immediately. As we were leaving, about an hour later, the wait was 1 1/2 hours so I'm glad we got there early. It was much more casual than we expected so thanks for the heads up about dress. I'd been thinking coat and tie and nice dress. They brought out a small dish of cajun cashews and some great focaccia. Nice, dense, great flavor (I'm a bread person) but only three little pieces. I tried the sherry bisque which I enjoyed, light sherry flavor, firm lump crabmeat, creamy but not overly so. Limited choices on the appetizers, maybe it's the seasonal change because some of what you all recommended wasn't available. We shared a bacon wrapped sea scallop w/ mango chutney and caramelized onions. The scallops might be the largest I've ever seen, , a good 3" in diameter maybe. Great first bite, the scallops were firm but not overcooked. It was so big, though, and got old by the end. Two came with the appetizers and we both agreed it would be too much to have more as an entree, which was an option. We both had the rib eye w/ the horse radish cream. You really have to be a steak lover to enjoy this place. How do people eat 32 oz of steak??? But, the person next to us did (tables can be a little close together) and finished off his wife's, too. The rib eye was excellent, tender, melt in your mouth. The horse radish cream sauce was good but it would have been fine on its own because it was so good. But, again, huge. I took home over half. The creamed spinach was great. I rarely have creamed spinach because it's usually overly rich, too much cream that overwhelms the spinach but this was perfect. More spinach than cream, nice flavor. Mashed potatoes were, well, mashed potatoes. Good but nothing extraordinary. We both enjoyed our glasses of Malbec with dinner. So, very reasonably priced, good service, great meal, and a nice anniversary dinner thanks to you chowhounds. Next year, I told my husband we're going vegetarian.

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