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Ray's the Steaks


cjsadler
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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.

Joe , every time you post you are saying the same exact things, which you repeated the same exact ideas 3 times in this post too. I hope you are aware of this.because after some time these are not making any sense , at least to me .

no offense please .

Corduroy

General Manager

1122 Ninth Street, NW

Washington DC 20001

www.corduroydc.com

202 589 0699

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As a frequent lurker on this board, I am amazed at the level of praise and criticism that Ray's receives. Frankly, I just don't see the customer service criticisms. Seriously, how hard is it to remember to call during a two hour period, four times a week? And, if the fact that tables are expected to be out within 90 minutes is explained beforehand - why is anyone complaining? As the departed Dr.Thompson would say, "buy the ticket, take the ride".

Last Sunday I went to Ray's with six others to celebrate a friend's birthday. Mr. Landrum seated us, checked to see that our meals were cooked as requested, and was gracious enough to provide plates and spoons for a horrible Giant carrot cake that our friend's S.O. brought (I would have preferred the Pie).

The Onion soup was fantastic, the Hanger Steak cooked to a perfectly charred medium rare, and the Zinfandel recommendation (by Mr. Landrum) was right on. We arrived at 6:00 - and were back on Capitol Hill by 8:00. Never felt rushed at all.

Ray's is a class operation, run the way it's owner sees fit. All customers are made aware of the quirks - so what's the big deal.

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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

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. 

I've never even eaten at Ray's, but I guess I have to take a small issue with the idea that the folks who disagree with you are sycophants! I seem to recall you ripping into someone who ate at BlackSalt and wasn't as impressed as you are with the food and gave it "two stars". Wouldn't that be a case of "railing against anyone who is even slightly critical"? Seems to me like this board is full of people who are intelligent and passionate about food, yourself included of course, and that resorting to name-calling when a disagreement arises is a little harsh.

Just my $.02.

Edited by EllenH (log)

"What, after all, is more seductive than the prospect of sinning in libraries?"

Michael Dirda, An Open Book

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

Hi Cindy,

I'm sorry I wasn't more clear: tactile presence, or tactile impression, is a term that wine aficionados use in describing a wine. Nobody knows what it means, or cares, but everyone uses it anyway because it makes you sound like you know what you're doing. Refer to wine adjectives such as flirtatious, buoyant, vinous, stealthy, intrepid or sprightly.

Oh, and then there's the term wine aficionado itself, which means "a dumpy, balding middle-aged man attempting to portray his benders as something dignified, classy and intellectual."

:laugh:

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Random thoughts.

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

Just curious, but what does "not enough tactile presence" mean? Is that a fancy pants way of saying mushy?

I don't know about "tactile presence" but what I do know is that I thought the creamed spinach wasn't that good. I just didn't like it at all. I wouldn't eat it again if I go back to Rays.

I guess the creamed spinach I like the best is at the Palm (the one in DC - it's different elsewhere).

Barry

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Hm....I always thought of tactile presence as something you can touch or grope. As in, "I was ready to fall over, but was stopped by a tactile presence of my friend standing next to my barstool."

Resident Twizzlebum

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A "tactile presence" is what you feel the moment before you open your eyes and the fuzzy details of the previous night's debauch come back to you. It's called a "tactile presence" because you usually can't remember their name.

This phenomena is generally the result of drinking enough to feel "flirtatious, buoyant, vinous, stealthy, intrepid or sprightly" even though you can barely walk.

Edited by Busboy (log)

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Sycophant!

That might cross over into Toady! but I'm not sure. :laugh:

You've obviously never gotten inside the psyche of a chef.

Go back and look at my first posting about Restaurant Eve, the one where I praised the restaurant to high heaven, but mentioned that I didn't care for the pickled martini.

That's the only thing Todd Thrasher remembers about that posting.

Every time I walk into Restaurant Eve now, Todd comes walking up to me:

"It's still on the menu, asshole. Read it and weep."

I know very well what's coming down the road at Ray's:

"So ... want a little extra nutmeg on your overcooked scallop, dickweed? Oh, and by the way, I got 1510 on my SATs, so tongue my appendix."

I'm doomed,

Rocks.

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Joe--

You are far too intelligent and perceptive in your observations to continue to miss the simple point that what you continue to harp about is the direct result of the limited size of the place, not a decision on my part.

Why should I have to continue to apololgize to you for the fact that after working my ass off for twelve years, saving every penny that I could, putting everything I had on the line, even liquidating my IRA to stay afloat when Ray's was about to go under, that I was not able to build a restaurant to suit your needs?

Three years, seven days a week, one hundred hours a week, no vacation, no days off--how much more of my time do you want so that your calls never go unanswered?

What you call arrogance is what a small restaurant does to survive the best it can, while satisfying its clientele the best it can.

--Michael

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Can we now officially call this horse that we are STILL whipping "dead"?

Jesus Christ, for everyone but Michael and his employees, it's JUST A FUCKING RESTAURANT!

PS - Michael what'll the reservation system in SS look like?

:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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Joe--

You are far too intelligent and perceptive in your observations to continue to miss the simple point that what you continue to harp about is the direct result of the limited size of the place, not a decision on my part.

Why should I have to continue to apololgize to you for the fact that after working my ass off for twelve years, saving every penny that I could, putting everything I had on the line, even liquidating my IRA to stay afloat when Ray's was about to go under, that I was not able to build a restaurant to suit your needs?

Three years, seven days a week, one hundred hours a week, no vacation, no days off--how much more of my time do you want so that your calls never go unanswered?

What you call arrogance is what a small restaurant does to survive the best it can, while satisfying its clientele the best it can.

--Michael

I'm with you, Michael. You have nothing to apologize for. This ought to be the last word on this subject.

Mark

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Joe--

You are far too intelligent and perceptive in your observations to continue to miss the simple point that what you continue to harp about is the direct result of the limited size of the place, not a decision on my part.

Why should I have to continue to apololgize to you for the fact that after working my ass off for twelve years, saving every penny that I could, putting everything I had on the line, even liquidating my IRA to stay afloat when Ray's was about to go under, that I was not able to build a restaurant to suit your needs?

Three years, seven days a week, one hundred hours a week, no vacation, no days off--how much more of my time do you want so that your calls never go unanswered?

What you call arrogance is what a small restaurant does to survive the best it can, while satisfying its clientele the best it can.

--Michael

I'm with you, Michael. You have nothing to apologize for. This ought to be the last word on this subject.

It might be fun to find another more (less?) deserving area restaurant to find a few flaws to pick on incessantly. Let's see, how can we make it work?

We can post about it on eG, Chowhound, Sietsema's chats, the Post reader reviews, the City Paper reader reviews (0 sporks). Maybe we could sart a blog. Or leaflets and sandwich boards.

Any nominations?

Then maybe Ray's (and Corduroy and others who've been subject to the exposure) can get back to doing what it is that they do - feeding us well.

Seriously- I started following this and found it funny. Now I'm getting bored on the way to annoyed.

Edited by bilrus (log)

Bill Russell

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Yeah.  Pull the motherfucking feeding tube and let this thread go to bed for a half a day.

Bistrot du Coin

Edited by John W. (log)

Firefly Restaurant

Washington, DC

Not the body of a man from earth, not the face of the one you love

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FYI:  Rocks is neither dumpy nor balding.

Actually, there is a dumpy, balding man inside Rocks trying to get out. The guy sat too close to him at the bar at Marcel's one night and kept going on about how he couldn't stand "that sugary riesling crap." Two bites was all it took...

Edited by iamthestretch (log)

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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Oh, and then there's the term wine aficionado itself, which means "a dumpy, balding middle-aged man attempting to portray his benders as something dignified, classy and intellectual."

Hey. I'm neither balding, nor middle-aged.

Jake Parrott

Ledroit Brands, LLC

Bringing new and rare spirits to Washington DC.

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FYI:  Rocks is neither dumpy nor balding.

Actually, there is a dumpy, balding man inside Rocks trying to get out. The guy sat too close to him at the bar at Marcel's one night and kept going on about how he couldn't stand "that sugary riesling crap." Two bites was all it took...

Sounds a little like those great lines from Sideways, but with riesling instead of merlot: "I'm not drinking any riesling! If anybody orders riesling, I'm leaving!" :rolleyes:

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