Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
cjsadler

Ray's the Steaks

Recommended Posts

Speaking of calling for a reservation... I've been trying to do that and have been getting a somewhat garbled message. I gather that the time for calling to make a reservation is limited, but after five or six tries (obviously not at the right time :wink: ) I have not been able to make it out? Can anyone tell me the best way to make a reservation there and what their reservation policy is?

I think it's during the week between 2 and 4.

Good luck!

Jennifer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks! I'll have to remember to try then. They don't have a website, do they?


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks! I'll have to remember to try then. They don't have a website, do they?

They accept reservations two hours a day, four days a week. When the phone is not busy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Supply and demand. I suspect if Ray's was having difficulty filling tables, then they would expand their reservation hours.

I do wish the reservation policy was more transparent. I have never tried to make a reservation myself, but my wife tried to surprise me with a reservation for my birthday and couldn't figure out when she was supposed to call. (She said she called a few times; got busy signals sometimes; got an endlessly ringing phone other times.) Alas, I was deprived of my first Ray's steak for my birthday, and we would have gladly been out of there in ninety minutes. :sad:

Edited to include: The above should not be read as a whimpering complaint, nor a plea for any special birthday treatment. Just a modest request. Phew. Just wanted to make that clear. Can't wait to go to Ray's. Next time the wife is going to let me make the reservations.


Edited by dmede (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think all these comments are a testatment to this restaurant. Clearly it serves fine food, good well priced wine in an atmosphere that is nicely more welcoming than most steakhouses.

So, people need to complain about something, like the trivial table policy, lack of reservations and selective delivery of hot chocolate! :hmmm:


Edited by DCMark (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh, boo hoo.  What do you want?  A call center?

Hilarious.... :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When is enough, enough? Some people love Ray's, others loathe it. To the people who love it, we all understand your loving it, no need to be redundant and repeat yourself over and over and over again. We get it... To the people who loathe it. Get over it and find something you like. Me personally I thought it was terribly average with a decible level that bordered on sadistic. Mock me if you will, I neither loved it or hated it. I thought the food was certainly fabulous but the rest of the package brings it down a few pegs. You can eat the greatest food on earth, but if you are eating it on the shoulder of the Beltway out of the trunk of your car (exagerated parallel to be sure) it misses just a little something. IMHO...


"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."

—George W. Bush in Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who loathes it? Why not stand up and state your reasons? No shame in that. Its the petty crap that is, well, petty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Supply and demand.  I suspect if Ray's was having difficulty filling tables, then they would expand their reservation hours.

I do wish the reservation policy was more transparent.  I have never tried to make a reservation myself, but my wife tried to surprise me with a reservation for my birthday and couldn't figure out when she was supposed to call.  (She said she called a few times; got busy signals sometimes; got an endlessly ringing phone other times.)  Alas, I was deprived of my first Ray's steak for my birthday, and we would have gladly been out of there in ninety minutes.  :sad:

Edited to include:  The above should not be read as a whimpering complaint, nor a plea for any special birthday treatment.  Just a modest request.  Phew.  Just wanted to make that clear.  Can't wait to go to Ray's.  Next time the wife is going to let me make the reservations.

I believe that the limited reservation springs from Ray's small staff and desire to keep overhead low -- hiring a full-time reservationist would be prohibitively expensive.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Who loathes it?  Why not stand up and state your reasons?  No shame in that.  Its the petty crap that is, well, petty.

I do not loathe it. But I do feel people do. I am not one of those. The point I was trying to make was after all of these posts, are there any other positives or negatives that really need airing? Probably not.


"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."

—George W. Bush in Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know a lot of people that loaf Ray's, and it's probably because Michael makes a lot of bread.


...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Who loathes it?  Why not stand up and state your reasons?  No shame in that.  Its the petty crap that is, well, petty.

I do not loathe it. But I do feel people do. I am not one of those. The point I was trying to make was after all of these posts, are there any other positives or negatives that really need airing? Probably not.

It never hurts to know that a restaurant continues to live up to its reputation or doesn't. The fact that the restaurant continues to generate the interest it does makes mewant to try it for myself and choose it over a myriad of other restaurants in DC accordingly.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Who loathes it?  Why not stand up and state your reasons?  No shame in that.  Its the petty crap that is, well, petty.

I do not loathe it. But I do feel people do. I am not one of those. The point I was trying to make was after all of these posts, are there any other positives or negatives that really need airing? Probably not.

It never hurts to know that a restaurant continues to live up to its reputation or doesn't. The fact that the restaurant continues to generate the interest it does makes mewant to try it for myself and choose it over a myriad of other restaurants in DC accordingly.

Ray's is legitimately very good. Several of its steaks are among DC's best. A scallop appetizer, a Key Lime pie dessert rival the best of any other steak house.

This board aside (there are many here who rave about it without realizing there is a significant number of people who are legitimately put off by the restricted hours and the increasing prices-they rail against anyone who is even slightly critical of Ray's), Ray's is operated in a very non friendly user manner. As you have found out and several others in this thread it is very difficult to make a reservation. Two hours a day, four days a week. If you want to cancel, the restaurant will have no idea that you cannot make it since they don't answer the phone to acknowledge your cancellation. They ask you to reconfirm the day before but this, also, is very difficult since we once again have the two hour window with the always busy telephones.

Regardless of the half dozen sycophants on this board Ray's has as good of a steak as there is in the metropolitan area of Washington. There are also excellent sides, exemplery first courses and a Keys class dessert. It also has the most user unfriendly reservation system of any restaurant that I have ever been to, El Bulli and Eiginsinn Farm included. I believe there is an arrogance associated with this that I find unacceptible. There is also some kind of belief that someone who reserves for an earlier table, by definition, should be gone within 90 minutes. This comment is not a problem except that Ray's has some entrees that are $30.

Many on this board have rejected my criticism and attacked me. It doesn't matter to them how many restaurants I've been in or how old or sophisticated I am. I, simply stated, am the enemy for criticising their icon, who posts on this board and religiously responds to every criticism.

For me, Ray's is not a restaurant that I would invest in. For me, the customer is the single most important person who will ever walk through the door. I will do everything in my power to make my restaurant user friendly to him. Creating a reservation system that is virtually impossible to access, a seating timeframe that limits to 90 minutes and rejecting groups of more than four prior to 7:00PM is simply suicidal for someone hoping to operate a restaurant that is enduring and capable of expansion.

So, there will be a host of responses from people on here attacking me for saying this. Still, no one is listening to my, your and other posts: they can't get through to make a reservation, or they have a bit of difficulty in understanding that they MUST be out in 90 minutes.

Sycophants rule.

But is this good business? I think not. And the real loss is his food which is among DC's best. I just hope that down the road, a few years from now, Michael stops and listens to what people are saying: a restaurant MUST be user friendly and accessible. No matter how good the food is. He's building a very user unfriendly reputation that does not bring people in when others do not show up for reservations. He has empty tables from people who cannot call and tell him they cannot come. There is no opportunity of a last minute reservation or of someone coming in off of the street in Arlington, curious if a table might be available-there is very little foot traffic there.

The criticism in Tom Sietsema's chat and elsewhere is legitimate: there is an arrogance associated with Ray's that he only reaffirms with his reservations policy and his cafeteria quick service. He does not market to those who traditionally go to a steak house, whether the business dinner or a roup out for a night on the town. He has a different approach. My personal problem is that I believe he is still, a steak house. And very, very user unfriendly despite what the many on this board say.

If I were a partner in his operation I would have a major disagreement with him on how he operates his business. He would point out that he is in this on his own, its his own money and he doesn't care about my opinion. I would add that he doesn't care about all the negative publicity that he is receiving from his overly restrictive operation which can be the death march for many restaurants over time.

He and others on this board will remind me that he is able to have such restrictive operating hours because of his success.

I merely ask how enduring this success is?

The real loss is what he serves: he is making it unavailable to the general public.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I am no fan of the posts here that do nothing but praise a place. But I see few real constuctive negative posts about the place.

edit: ops, this was posted at the same instance as Joe H's which is legitimate and well-written so there is one.

Who loathes it?  Why not stand up and state your reasons?  No shame in that.  Its the petty crap that is, well, petty.

I do not loathe it. But I do feel people do. I am not one of those. The point I was trying to make was after all of these posts, are there any other positives or negatives that really need airing? Probably not.


Edited by DCMark (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I, for one, am able to dine as frequently at Ray's the Steaks as I care to. Perhaps it is because I fully understand the reservation policies and process that I am able to do this. More often than not, I snag a 6:00 reservation with the understanding that I will have to vacate in 90 minutes, which so far, has never caused me a problem. Also know that the best time to call is on a weekday between 12-2 in the afternoon. Those who can only dine during peak times will be consistently frustrated. I find flexibility to be the key to enjoying the full Ray's experience. Ask for an early or a late tee time and you will not be disappointed. As Joe H himself freely admits, the steaks are some of the best in town and the key lime pie and scallops are special.

But I don't understand the bit about increasing prices. Joe H, how the heck would you know?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am very happy to say that following advice from eGullet members I succeeded in securing my reservation. I am looking forward to it. My biggest problem with the reservation issue was that I couldn't understand the message on the answering machine even after 5 or 6 times listening to it, so a call center might have been helpful. :wink:

While I generally prefer a more user friendly reservation experience, I trust that the proof is in the pudding and that so long as the restaurant continues to be successful with its current approach it doesn't need to change it. It makes it easier for its dedicated patrons to secure their tables.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Random thoughts.

I have never had better steaks, anywhere, in my life, than at Ray's.

I don't like the blackened scallops (too blackened, often too overdone).

I don't like the creamed spinach (too much nutmeg, not enough tactile presence).

I love the mashed potatoes.

I love the service.

I love the talent: Michael Landrum, Michael Hartzer, Jared Slipp, Justin Slipp? Hello... Earth calling... This is as good as it gets.

I love the wine list.

I love the passion.

I love the informality.

I love that you get fresh spinach and potatoes when taking your steak to go.

I love the neighborhood aspect.

I love Michael Landrum's anti-marketing shtick.

I love the hospitality.

I love the honesty.

I love the humanity.

I question the expansion, and consider the burden of proof to be on Michael Landrum.

I think Ray's is one of the most important restaurants in all of Washington.

It's the Two Amy's of steakhouses.

It's world-class for what it is.

I feel honored every time I have dinner there.

It's not as inexpensive as I'd like it to be.

It's much less expensive than Charlie Palmer or anything comparable.

Michael Landrum has a genius. I'm not saying he IS a genius; I'm saying he HAS a genius.

I love Ray's the Steaks.

I love Ray's the Steaks.

I love Ray's the Steaks.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Random thoughts.

I have never had better steaks, anywhere, in my life, than at Ray's.

I don't like the blackened scallops (too blackened, often too overdone).

I don't like the creamed spinach (too much nutmeg, not enough tactile presence).

I love the mashed potatoes.

I love the service.

I love the talent:  Michael Landrum, Michael Hartzer, Jared Slipp, Justin Slipp?  Hello...  Earth calling...  This is as good as it gets.

I love the wine list.

I love the passion.

I love the informality.

I love that you get fresh spinach and potatoes when taking your steak to go.

I love the neighborhood aspect.

I love Michael Landrum's anti-marketing shtick.

I love the hospitality.

I love the honesty.

I love the humanity.

I question the expansion, and consider the burden of proof to be on Michael Landrum.

I think Ray's is one of the most important restaurants in all of Washington.

It's the Two Amy's of steakhouses.

It's world-class for what it is.

I feel honored every time I have dinner there.

It's not as inexpensive as I'd like it to be.

It's much less expensive than Charlie Palmer or anything comparable.

Michael Landrum has a genius.  I'm not saying he IS a genius; I'm saying he HAS a genius.

I love Ray's the Steaks.

I love Ray's the Steaks.

I love Ray's the Steaks.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Sycophant!


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am very happy to say that following advice from eGullet members I succeeded in securing my reservation. I am looking forward to it. My biggest problem with the reservation issue was that I couldn't understand the message on the answering machine even after 5 or 6 times listening to it, so a call center might have been helpful. :wink:

While I generally prefer a more user friendly reservation experience, I trust that the proof is in the pudding and that so long as the restaurant continues to be successful with its current approach it doesn't need to change it. It makes it easier for its dedicated patrons to secure their tables.

While you are at Ray's, immediately next door is the best Mexican restaurant in the Washington area, Guajillo (source: Tom Sietsema in the Post). Not Tex Mex but Mexican, i.e. exemplery ceviche, mole, flavorful carne asada, hand stirred margueritas on the rocks worthy of Chihuahua Charlie's in Juarez, etc. Also, not too far away are several outstanding Peruvian rotisserie chicken "joints." Crisp 'n Juicy is the name of one, El Pollo Rico is the other. I realize that New York has outstanding rotisserie chicken but I am not certain if you have pollo a la brasa on par with this. Perhaps. But if not, for what it's worth, Zagat (don't laugh) gives El Pollo Rico 26 for food and an appropriate 5 for decor.

http://www.zagat.com/Search/Details.asp?VI...%27%27&RID=3986

This is a review of El Pollo Rico from Washingtonian:

http://www.washingtonian.com/dining/Profiles/ElPolloR.html

Enjoy Ray's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still think my pho-ray's comparison was spot on. but that's probably just me.


I wanna say something. I'm gonna put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don't, send it right back. I want to be on you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
While you are at Ray's, immediately next door is the best Mexican restaurant in the Washington area, Guajillo

But Joe!

What about Oyamel? Didn't you write on ChowHound that it's going to win a Beard Award or something?

:laugh:

Oh, okay, I admit it: I'm razzing you a bit. But it's all in good spirit.

Do you really think Guajillo is the best Mexican restaurant in the area, or are you just being enthusiastic?

Cheers bro,

Rocks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I, for one, am able to dine as frequently at Ray's the Steaks as I care to.  Perhaps it is because I fully understand the reservation policies and process that I am able to do this.  More often than not, I snag a 6:00 reservation with the understanding that I will have to vacate in 90 minutes, which so far, has never caused me a problem.  Also know that the best time to call is on a weekday between 12-2 in the afternoon.  Those who can only dine during peak times will be consistently frustrated.  I find flexibility to be the key to enjoying the full Ray's experience.  Ask for an early or a late tee time and you will not be disappointed.  As Joe H himself freely admits, the steaks are some of the best in town and the key lime pie and scallops are special.

But I don't understand the bit about increasing prices.  Joe H, how the heck would you know?

What telephone number do you call between 12 and 2? Ray's only accepts reservations for two hours Tuesday through Friday from 2:00PM until 4:00PM. If you are calling a different number that is answered and making a reservation on this number at hours other than these then there is no question that you are not having the same experience as I and many others who have become frustrated to the point of not returning. I just called Ray's garbled recording which is on it.

Hearing that there is A SECOND PHONE NUMBER THAT ACCEPTS RESERVATIONS AT DIFFERENT HOURS is, really, a bit much. It's no wonder that so many feel the way they do about this restaurant. They don't have to put up with what the general public does to get into it. For myself and others I stand by my comments: the best restaurants go out of their way to make their customers feel important and special. Ray's is doing this. For some of their customers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe the time fram to call has changed in the last few weeks--it was 12-2 but the last few times I've called it was 2-4. And yes, Michael is talking WAY too fast on the machine to understand what he says unless you know what his spiel already is.

No conspiracy theory here!

Jennifer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
While you are at Ray's, immediately next door is the best Mexican restaurant in the Washington area, Guajillo

But Joe!

What about Oyamel? Didn't you write on ChowHound that it's going to win a Beard Award or something?

:laugh:

Oh, okay, I admit it: I'm razzing you a bit. But it's all in good spirit.

Do you really think Guajillo is the best Mexican restaurant in the area, or are you just being enthusiastic?

Cheers bro,

Rocks.

In all honesty I don't think either D. C. or NY have outstanding Mexican. Certainly nothing like El Paso, Juarez, Tijuana or on the Pacific coast. I really do think that Guajillo had the D. C. area's best margeuritas. But for Tex Mex comfort food I probably like the Arlington Taqueria Poblano as much as any. Guajillo, for me, FEELS like Juarez inside.

Oyamel is an incredible disappointment. My wife and I went on the night of my 40 year high school reunion with serious munchies, "college" era munchies, if you will. It was also its opening weekend and Jose was in the kitchen. Obviously, I raved, RAVED about it. Steve klc's dessert, too, which I thought was inventive and delicious.

Two weeks later 8 or 10 from the other board went for lunch and laughed at my comments. LAUGHED! A half dozen more have gone at other times and agreed with them. (Laughed even harder!) I haven't been back since that first night in large part because of the others' experiences. I know them and trust their opinions. We've been getting together for monthly luncheons for almost four years and if its not what my wife and I found-for them-it won't be the same for me, either. A major disapointment since I've been to Bayless' places several times as well as Stephen Pyles' (Routh Street, AquaKnox, Star Canyon) and Dean Fearing's. I hadn't thought of the last two when I wrote what I did (I should have); but that night it was just outstanding.

Now, I'm afraid to go back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...