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Requesting recent reports on Ray's to the Third

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We are long-time fans of all things Ray but have not been to Ray's to the Third in several months. We were planning to take some friends who have never been, having talked up the burgers that we find to be so fantastic. However, I haven't seen any recent reviews here on CH (nothing more recent than a year or two ago). Meanwhile, over on Yelp (I know, but at least the reviews are recent) I am seeing what looks like increasing and pretty drastic inconsistency. Some people still love it but others are giving some detailed comments on poor service and food quality. Most - even the favorable reviews - have commented on the shrinking menu and I noticed that myself the last time we were there.

I don't want to disappoint my friends, so I would appreciate hearing feedback from recent visits.

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  1. We were there 6 months (or so) ago and enjoyed it. We don't eat tons of red meat so I am not a burger aficionado, but it was cooked to order and flavorful. I went with the blue cheese one. I'm not remembering the fries, which likely means they were just ok. Service was good, efficient.

    1. So to answer myself, since I went back yesterday. No line, no wait shortly before 1 p.m. Burgers were about 90% of normal flavor/juiciness. Still a really good burger, still better than anything else in the area, but missing that special quality. Salmon back on the menu but now there is only one cut of steak (top sirloin). Buns seemed like standard-issue grocery store buns. Service was meh. The runner brought our orders out and gave them to the adjacent table. We tried to tell him but he just walked away.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Just Visiting

        This is pretty much my experience except the service was pretty decent. I want old Ray's Hellburger back, though, with the same atmosphere (and maybe a credit card machine). It's a good burger, but there's some appeal lost when you have table service for a burger.

        1. re: pgm123

          I wonder what's up with Ray these days? Recently DanielK reported that he had sold Ray's The Classics. Is the main Ray's The Steaks at the Arlington Court House still too busy, or it is it safe to drop in unreserved for a week night dinner at a table (not at the bar)?

          1. re: pgm123

            There is also counter service at Rays to the Third. You have that choice.

            I've had the steak and cheese twice before and found it inpressive despite the sweetness of the bread. Saturday night it was way too salty.... so the combination of sweet and salty made this the General Tso's of steak subs.

            I'll think twice before ordering this again.

            1. re: Steve

              Good to know about the inconsistency of the steak and cheese.

              I've been told of counter service, but I've been there for lunch about times and it was never staffed. Is there a little bell I'm supposed to ring, or was my experience unusual?

              1. re: pgm123

                Unusual. I've seen two people there, but perhaps you went at a odd time? No bell, there is a cash register right there. You can just ask anyone when you go in if you don't see someone at the counter.

                Added note: fried chicken on the menu is dark meat only.

        2. I saw that fried chicken is back on the menu. I stopped in just for their Cookie Monster milkshake, which I highly recommend.

          1. One of my writers says the Dogcatcher is good. Mmmmm...bone marrow.

            1. R^3 for the first time today.
              I am not a burger eater but TeenHound certainly is. So, conversely, she ordered the Hot Mess and I got the Fat Joe.
              Hot Mess: layered from bottom to top: mac'n'cheese, chilli, fries and tots, burger patty, cheese, two fried eggs ss-up
              Fat Joe: bun, burger, foie gras, tomato slice, bun

              HotMess was quite good; eggs were perfect, chilli was well flavoured, and "self-mixed" bites of chilli-mac were also good. She ate about 1/3 and donated an egg to me.

              Fat Joe. Oh. My. Heaven in my hands?
              Super fatty, super clean foie, a little added S&P on the egg [tomato got to sit on the plate like a lonely garnish when the egg came across the table] and a just charred Med Rare patty.
              The bread was fairly grocery-level, perhaps a touch sweet, but buttered and grilled, which helped.
              Meat wasn't noticeably anything, flavour-wise, but the perfect temp and ratio of rare/outer char.
              But the foie. Creamier and fattier than most I've had in The States [with the exception of MoKoMandy] and the piece was 1"x2"x4", which in the land of fg, for me, pretty much qualifies as "huge."