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cjsadler

Ray's the Steaks

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Saturday night's late excursion to RTS went spiffin'. I still can't believe that my friends all ordered cowboy-cut steaks. I barely hung in there with my hangar steak, while they were going strong all the way to the bone! (Of course, they're all big hungry boys, but what can I say?)

I found the noise a little overwhelming, but I have mouse-sensitive ears and I know it. One of my friends found the bustle enjoyable, so to each his own.

My hangar steak was extremely rich and flavorful, and left nothing to be desired.

Great meat done right, simple but tasty sides of garlic mashed potatoes and creamed spinach (is that a minty note or just me?), and grilled onions that made me debate licking my plate.

I know I broke down and licked the remnants of my chocolate mousse from the glass. Let me just that I remain unrepentant on this issue.

:counts meager and pathetic salary until she can return: :wub:

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Where do you go for steak in Houston? Pappas Bros? To me Ray's "feels" like a restaurant in NOLA by the way. Where else are you going?

Wow, I hope I did the quote thingy right. Pappas Bros is great, we go to Brenners for steak here. Houston is the land of chains. Actually Brenners was not-too-long-ago bought by Tilman Feritta (Landrys/Joe Crab Shack owner and developer of neon, disney-like blight on a national scale) but he wisely left it alone, so even though it is now part of the Evil Empire and also located on a highway frontage road, we like it best for beef. I think Houston has endless capacity for steak restaurants, even places like Ruth's Chris are crowded.

I'm finally going to hit Zatinaya and we're having lunch on Friday at Jaleo, since when I worked on the Hill that was my favorite to go there many years ago. We also have 2 Amys scheduled in since I also used to love Pizza Paradiso and my sister thinks I would love 2 Amys.

Comparing RTS to somewhere in NOLA is a great endorsement, in my view.


Edited by Joe H (log)

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Joe,

It may be a generational thing too. We Gen X'rs and Y'rs (God, they Gen Y's haven't hit here yet have they?) may not feel 5 stars needs to be stuffy.

Arrogance? The staff was nothing but accomodating to our funky needs. I mean, butter is like nectar from the gods, so is cream, but Jules can't eat it right now. Never a question. The kitchen seemed to have a plan B up there sleeves for us.

Now, that damn 90 minute thing...we feel we wasted the later reservation. I hope we didn't take the linger factor away from someone else, but honestly, we didn't get our next course on the heels of the previous.

One thing on the main was our fault, one was Michael's and his staff. Our fault, we were starving.

His fault...the steaks were too damn good. Period.

I have a love hate relationship with restaurants. They seem to always screw me. No matter what I get, it is usually f'd up in one way, shape or form.

Not so much at Ray's.

I never felt there was arrogance in the room. Bustle, yes, but not arrogance.

For 2.5 times as much, I could go eat at the Outback's "let's pretend we are a grown up's restaurant", which I have, and not have had as good a steak.

I've been to Black Salt. It's not the greates thing since sliced bread either. I think the Salt needs to be dropped from the name.

Just like Michael's steaks are best left naked and undressed...BS needs to drop their love of everything sodium.


"You don't like your job, you don't strike... you just go in there every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way." --Homer

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Joe,

It may be a generational thing too. We Gen X'rs and Y'rs (God, they Gen Y's haven't hit here yet have they?) may not feel 5 stars needs to be stuffy.

Arrogance? The staff was nothing but accomodating to our funky needs. I mean, butter is like nectar from the gods, so is cream, but Jules can't eat it right now. Never a question. The kitchen seemed to have a plan B up there sleeves for us.

Now, that damn 90 minute thing...we feel we wasted the later reservation. I hope we didn't take the linger factor away from someone else, but honestly, we didn't get our next course on the heels of the previous.

One thing on the main was our fault, one was Michael's and his staff. Our fault, we were starving.

His fault...the steaks were too damn good. Period.

I have a love hate relationship with restaurants. They seem to always screw me. No matter what I get, it is usually f'd up in one way, shape or form.

Not so much at Ray's.

I never felt there was arrogance in the room. Bustle, yes, but not arrogance.

For 2.5 times as much, I could go eat at the Outback's "let's pretend we are a grown up's restaurant", which I have, and not have had as good a steak.

I've been to Black Salt. It's not the greates thing since sliced bread either. I think the Salt needs to be dropped from the name.

Just like Michael's steaks are best left naked and undressed...BS needs to drop their love of everything sodium.

"We set up an 8:30pm reservation per Jared's suggestion in case we wanted to linger for awhile. It was nice having that luxury, but we were out of there pretty early."

This is from your original post. I found your use of the word "luxury" to describe being able to stay longer than 90 minutes quite interesting. Ray's is the first restaurant in the D. C. area to do this. I fear that it will not be the last. It is also possible that when one spends $150 or more like my wife and I did there is a level of expectations that is different from when one spends $40-50 per person total which is what many on this board seem to spend when they go there. Anyway, I was just responding to the person visiting who interpreted my analogy to a New Orleans restaurant and positive comments about several dishes as an endorsement. For me the restaurant I named, Pappas Bros., is a Houston version of the Capital Grille (which Houston also has an outpost of). I would rather spend $50 more and go there than Ray's. But that is me. As for Black Salt, I stand by my comments. I am also curious about comments about oversalting on here. I've now been to Black Salt seven or eight times and still, have not found a single dish to be oversalted. This includes organizing a dinner for 50 there with 15 courses. Having said this, on my next visit, I will probably find everything to be grossly oversalted!!!

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  I am also curious about comments about oversalting on here.  I've now been to Black Salt seven or eight times and still, have not found a single dish to be oversalted.  Having said this, on my next visit, I will probably find everything to be grossly oversalted!!!

I have a friend who I eat out with a few times a month. We have similar palates and often find layers of flavors and depth that an "average" diner may miss. But we regularly disagree about salt.

It's led me to believe that both two people can have excellent palates and still disagree about the amount of salt used in the same dish. I can now tell in one bite when he will find a dish oversalted, even though I think it is the perfect amount.

One person's perfection is another's salt mine.


True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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i personally like to leave my going to Ray's to Fate.

My wife and I love it, we live very close by, but are somewhat impulsive. We are not good at planning ahead. So when we get a craving for a delicious steak and some good wine (eventhough we are on a strict budget and not religious) we have this lil conversation with eachother....

Me: Lynn, three words for you...

Lynn: What?

Me: Rays the Steaks!

Lynn: What time is it? (looks at watch) We'll never get in...Anyways, we already ate out once this week. We can't afford to go out again.

Me: Well, how about we walk over there, and if there is a table available, we'll stay, and if not, we'll come home and eat left over lasagna (or meatloaf or pork chops or some other option.

Lynn: OK, lets go, NOW!

Me: (smiling, praying, anticipating) Nice. Three words, baby....Rays the Steaks

Now my wife and I have about a 40% success rate; but you know, for the lil gem that it is, we wouldnt want it any other way. When something is really, really good (and by no means perfect) but really, really good; you conform to it, not attempt to tweak it or change it fromm its natural state....or else ....things will inevitably go down hill from there.

lastly, speaking of dead horse....is that on the menu over there, Michael? Jared?


Nothing quite like a meal with my beautiful wife.

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I just made my reservation with Jared for our second outing to Ray's. I had been gushing about it to everyone with ears, and my good friend reminded me that my next reason for going was to take her. Good enough for me!

May 10th, 7:30 - I'll be there with bells on. I'm excited to try something new again this time, since everyone here gave me such great advice last time!

Ray's is as close to heaven on earth as there is.

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Once Mr Landrumm opens in Silver spring he can expect to see us with our steak-loving kids in tow at 5:30pm and he's welcome to throw us out after 90 minutes.  Dining out with a 3-year-old guarantees that we won't linger.  :wink:

Speaking of Silver Spring....any update on a possible opening date? I first heard "spring", then later, May. Are things still on track for pre-Memorial Day?

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:rolleyes:

After researching restaurants on this site for an upcoming trip, it was clear Ray's is a must. Decided to call on a whim, not expecting to get a reservation only 2 weeks out, but Jared said they just had a cancellation and we're in. Party of 4, Fri at 8:00 Nice.

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Just to throw my $.02 in. My family and I had a great meal thee last night. The food is as superb as most of the posters indicate here. My primary dish was the hangar steak. Yum. The blackened scallops and grilled shrimp fantastic and the key lime pie, the best I've ever had.


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

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well, after all the insanity that broke out on this thread last Tuesday, I decided the time was right for our maiden voyage to Ray's - called and got a reservation at 6.30 for myself, wifey, my folks (including my notoriously picky mother) and our 3 year old.

First off, this place is really, really great. Its definitely utilitarian in form and function but we had a fabulous time. The service was top notch, most of it from Jared, who guided us to a great new red he had just received, when we told him we really liked Franciscan Cabs but wanted to try something different.

For apps, we had the crab bisque which was divine, a tasty chowder, and the blackened scallops - the scallops are pretty special and worth every bit of the praise accorded them on these boards. My Dad also had a Caesar salad. For mains, I had the hangar, my mom a filet, my dad the diablo and my wife the entrecote. I have to say, with everything I had read about the hangar steak, I was expecting angels to start singing upon my first bite :rolleyes:

That didn't happen, its was a good steak but not a transporting experience. Maybe I'm not a hangar steak person. The rest of our party unanimously declared their steaks to be among the best they've ever eaten (and when dining out my parents almost exclusivley eat steak so that's really saying something). The garlic mashed potatoes were to die for, the spinach was excellent (and they continued to be excellent the next day after reheating - nice touch getting fresh portions w/ your steak to go).

We had five desserts, one for each of us. I had the key lime pie, the little one had the chocolate mousse and everyone else had strawberries and cream - all were top notch.

Heres the thing - 4 apps, 4 steaks, sides, and FIVE desserts and a $50 bottle of wine came to only $200 - just an incredible value in my book........oh, and we were out of there in 90 minutes without feeling the slightest bit rushed :raz:


Edited by brr (log)

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Nice report, brr, and welcome to eGullet.

I was too brief on mine, but only because so much has already been said. Your meal very much echoed ours except that the hanger steak was the one most heralded at our table. The others we had werre the black and blue with the cut being culotte -magnificently tender and tasty, the au poivre strip steak, a 12oz filet and the filet special with bacon wrapping and bearnaise. The spinach and mashed potatoes were also superb. In fact I used the spinach last night after we got home to make an omellete for dinner. The other desserts had were the strawberries and cream and chocolate mousee. They were fine, but the key lime pie was truly special.

Our wine was a Stellenbosch cab, that had some uniqueness despite its international styling.

I also agree that the service was exemplary and we certainly didn't feel rushed either. It is no wonder that it is as popular as it is.


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

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Nice report, brr, and welcome to eGullet......

......Our wine was a Stellenbosch cab, that had some uniqueness despite its international styling.

Thanks - I've been lurking for quite a while and intending to post as I've had a run of great meals in the last month (lucky me) but never carved out the time to post.

My mother just got back from SA with a few great looking wines which I am eager to sample

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Does anyone know if Justin is still working at Ray's? He was an awesome waiter at Palena and I'm trying to get my boyfriend to make a reservation for us at RTS -- he'll agree quickly if he knows Justin will be there.


Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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Does anyone know if Justin is still working at Ray's? He was an awesome waiter at Palena and I'm trying to get my boyfriend to make a reservation for us at RTS -- he'll agree quickly if he knows Justin will be there.

I don't know--haven't seen him in a while; wasn't sure if we just aren't coming in on the right nights.

Anyone else?

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First time back in a while - good stuff as always - and I had the chance to try a few new things.

Grilled Calamari with Clams Casino stuffing - they were able to coax the squid into being tender and the filling was luxurious and not overly "clammy".

And the Milk Chocolate Mousse was just the type of chocolate dessert I like - cremay, light, not too bitter, not too sweet and pure chocolate taste with nothing to distract from the flavor but a little dollop of whipped cream.

Ray's is all about the steaks, of course. But it wouldn't be nearly the restaurant it is if they didn't back the steaks up with the consistently good supporting cast - soups, sides, salads, desserts.


Bill Russell

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Ray's the Steaks Day 2 - the gift that keeps on giving.

Leftover of three New York Strips sliced and heated in the oven with a dirzzle of Olive Oil and some sea salt

gallery_7851_477_9250.jpg

On a baguette with leftover mushroom brandy cream sauce and gorgonzola along with the fresh potatoes and spinach they always provide

gallery_7851_477_4566.jpg

Almost as good the second day.


Bill Russell

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how did you end up with that much leftover steak, bro?


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.

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how did you end up with that much leftover steak, bro?

Mine accounted for about 2 ozs of that. The rest was my wife and mother who over-ordered on the accountrements.


Bill Russell

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My husband ordered the "sidekick" on Friday, which is supposed to be a half cowboy cut. It was over an inch thick, and huge. No way it was 14 oz.

I finally ordered those blackened scallops, and wished that I had ordered two double portions of those scallops for my dinner. Those were the most fantastic scallops I have eaten in a long time.

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Ray's was simply stellar as usual last night. Scallops were so fantastic, best thing to happen to a scallop ever. My blue devil rocked. My mom who isn't a big meat eater ordered the grilled scampi and that looked just really good. Our waiter Moe was the best, personable, efficient, funny. Great times per ususal......and Michael wasn't in the kitchen. Whoever is working the fire there is doing an unbelievable job.

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I ate at Ray's the other day -- my second time. I am wondering why they don't use the outdoor area in front of the restaurant -- like Guahillo or the Village Bistro. It would mean more tables....

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I ate at Ray's the other day -- my second time.  I am wondering why they don't use the outdoor area in front of the restaurant -- like Guahillo or the Village Bistro.  It would mean more tables....

I don't have an answer to your question but that is the best moniker I've ever seen!!! :laugh:

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Once Mr Landrumm opens in Silver spring he can expect to see us with our steak-loving kids in tow at 5:30pm and he's welcome to throw us out after 90 minutes.  Dining out with a 3-year-old guarantees that we won't linger.   :wink:

Speaking of Silver Spring....any update on a possible opening date? I first heard "spring", then later, May. Are things still on track for pre-Memorial Day?

If that's really 2006, then I need to find a smiley for crying my eyes out. Any word on the timing for real?

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My first experience at Ray's will be tomorrow night @ 6:00! I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to it. I am traveling from Indiana and will be in DC for a quick business trip. Thanks for the wonderful (and extremely entertaining) read and as always the great suggestions found on eGullet. :smile:

Chad


Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.

-- Aristophanes (450 BC - 388 BC)

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