Archive for October, 2008

Fresh Link

October 10, 2008 Leave a comment

Here’s a quickie for today, on everyone’s favorite: bacon.

Categories: Fresh Links

Stunteater Reviews: Ray’s Hell Burger, Arlington, VA

October 10, 2008 Leave a comment

Ray’s Hell Burger is an offshoot of what may be the finest steakhouse in the Washington, DC area, Ray’s The Steaks.  When I learned that this place existed, it immediately made it to the top of my visit-list for the next time I was in the DC area. 

For some reason, I’m a sucker for restaurants with proscriptions.  Does your restaurant only allow me to order one thing, cooked the way you see fit?  Yes?  Sign me up, my friend.  At Ray’s Hell Burger, they only offer one thing: a 10oz burger made from the same prime aged beef served at Ray’s The Steaks.  No fries, only corn.  Root beer on tap or water only. 

The burger is possibly one of the finest I have eaten.  This is not a fast-food style burger: the prime aged beef, ground several times daily right behind the counter tastes fresh and beefy; the patties are thick enough that you can get a perfect char on the outside while still coming out medium rare and juicy on the inside.   It’s possible to order it blackened or cajun-style, but why would you want to do that?

They do have their share of complicated toppings, but with a burger like this, my recommendation would be to keep it simple.  The rich taste of the burger benefits from the contrasting zing of some red onion or pickle, and does not need ketchup.  They do have a an extensive cheese list, with everything from the standard American or cheddar to some unusual ones like Taleggio.  Bacon is always a welcome addition, but I don’t think the burger gets much benefit out of the bacon – the star is the extra beefiness of the burger and the grill provides enough smoke to keep it interesting. 

Normally, a burger like this would require some engineering to get the bun right.  Make no mistake, this is a large burger that would give any bun difficulty; however, whether by science, practice, or luck, my bun made it through without becoming too soggy, even with a few juicy toppings included.  It was a pleasant surprise, since at first glance, the bun didn’t appear to stand a chance against the beef.  My dining partner had a similar experience.   

Atmosphere doesn’t appear to be a strong suit in any of the Ray’s family of restaurants, but this only serves to reinforce the point: this is a serious place to seriously eat a serious burger.  When I went, just after noon on a Saturday, the line was nearly out the door and it was difficult to get a table.  This is a burger that needs to be eaten on premises, so plan accordingly.

Other reviews can be found here.

Ray’s Hell Burger
1713 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA