Arlington, VA 22209
Visited: December 27, 2009
A haiku for Ray...whoever and where ever you are:
My buddy Ray Ray
Your steaks and burgers rock mouths.
Butts happily toot "YES!"
After going to see a shitty ice sculpture exhibit and feeling like we threw away our money, we (wife, twin monkeys and my fatter post-holiday self) wanted something to cheer us up. The disappointment from the ice exhibit combined with a hunger only us carnivores could appreciate drove us to visit Ray's Hell Burger. I had wanted to try Ray's for the longest time and was finally able to wrangle the wife and two monkeys to try out the biggest most bountiful burgers in Arlington. Sunday felt like a burger day and what better excuse to fight disappointment (or a self-diagnosed seasonal affective disorder) than to eat something as comforting and tasty as a well cooked burger.
As soon as I parked the minivan (down the street as the parking lot was Über-crowded), the delicious smell of meat and onions was heavy in the air arousing the killer within. Taking in deep breaths of the sweet smell of cooked flesh, I wondered how vegetarians could turn their back this primal love of dead animals cooking on fire. Embracing my predator nature, I grunted towards the family and shuffled them towards Ray's.
Although this was our first time at Hell Burger, the restaurant brought back nostalgic memories of the "old" Ray's the Steaks restaurant and all the good times and great dinner I had enjoyed. The layout was almost the same except for the register at the far end of the room as well as the chalk boards hanging from the ceiling listing some of the drinks and specials. I saw a sign on the wall that read, "Please do not take a table before ordering.." Being the muthafuckin' Rebel that I am, I sat the entire brood down at a table and stopped short of peeing on the chairs in order to mark my new territory. At this point, no sign could tell me what to do...I do as I want b*tches!!
The animal was out and all he wanted to some goddamn tasty burgers to satiate his hunger.
Even in my primal state and hungering for food, I was the gentlemen and told the wife to head up to counter to see the menu and to ask questions while I took care of the twin fun force. The boys and I sat at the table and looked all around at all the delicious food while Mommy did her best to narrow down her choice of burgers. I was proud that my monkeys didn't bounce outta their seats and managed to stay relatively quiet as they waited for the other parental unit to return.
After a few minutes of intense pondering and life changing self-examination, the wife returned with a menu in hand and informed me that she had chosen the the New Jack Zing. I quickly scanned the menu and instantly chose the Big Punisher, making a mental note to come back another time to try the Burger of Seville (burger with Foie Gras) or the Dogcatcher (burger with bone marrow). Knowing that the relative calm state of the monkeys would not last, I needed a burger that was delicious and wouldn't make me feel guilty if I had to suddenly inhale it once the kids got rowdy. A Foie Gras or bone marrow topped burger was something that needed to be enjoyed sans kids so that every tasty bit would be savored and respected.
I went up to the counter, was reminded by the CASH ONLY sign to grab some extra green from the ATM at the end of the narrow hall. With fresh cash in hand, I ordered our burgers, some sweet potato fries, regular fries and an order of Mac 'n Cheese for the little monkeys. Once I had paid I triumphantly headed back to our table....the table we had broken the rules to secure. HAHAHA!
A few minutes later our food arrived and boys pounced out of their chairs to scoop up some fries. I chuckled a bit at their reaction once they discovered the fries were hot and they would say "Ot! Ot" (leave off the "H" for "How the hell do you expect me to eat such HOT fries Daddy?!?) and tried to blow on the fries to cool them off. I grabbed my burger and as a meat purist respected the flavor by not adding ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise. Taking a bite, the juices from my burger filled my mouth and the flavor instantly told me I was dealing with some high quality meat. "Oh my...ummm" were the only words uttered out of my mouth. I looked across the table at my wife and her eyes took on that serious look that told me, "I can't talk, I'm totally into my food."
We shared out bounty with the boys who ate a few small pieces but chose to destroy the fries. The Mac 'n cheese we had ordered for them was ignored by both monkeys despite it being a very very tasty side item. As I reached the halfway point in my burger paradise, my wife and I swapped burgers to try out each other's choice. Delicious delicious. The flavor of the meat shines through and Ray's burgers are truly made with the highest quality beef, cooked to your specific temperature of choice.
One quick note: I really really enjoyed "Henry's Homemade ketchup". Tasty way to enjoy your fries with a flavor different and tastier than the standard Heinz ketchup. This is a big statement from me being a HUGE Heinz lover. The boys sopped up this ketchup with their fries bringing on giggles from other tables as they enjoyed the boy's antics.
The burgers were soon a distant memory as I sat at the table satisfied and happy. Oh food makes me happy, and who knew that a well cooked burger could erase such a bad day. I think Ray should post the following quote to help people suffering from bad days or that are just not feeling themselves: