Ray’s Hell Burger

Written by on September 13, 2012 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(rayshellburger.com) – Court House/Rosslyn neighborhood, Arlington, Virginia

How I heard of this place: Obama ate here.

Type of cuisine: Burgers and sides with creative flair. Select your own seasoning from a secret steak blend to black peppercorn crust, a spicy Cajun spice blend to a spicy chipotle sauce, add a cheese, luxury toppings such as applewood smoked bacon, seared foi gras with truffle oil, roasted bone marrow with persillade and guacamole. Choose from a plethora of free toppings: lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, raw red onions, pickle, charred jalapeňos, cognac & sherry sauteed mushrooms, roasted garlic, Ray’s Heck Sauce (tangy, zippy, but not spicy) or fiery Piraňha sauce, and BBQ sauce. Or, take on one of the specialty burgers from the seven creations on the Ray’s Hell Burger menu. Looking for a little something more, try one of their four side dishes: skin on fries, in small ($1.75) or large ($2.50), sweet potato fries, in small ($2) or large ($3), seven cheese MAC ($2) or homemade cole slaw ($1.25).

Ambiance: Without a sign outside proclaiming to passerby that Ray’s is this way, it’s a surprise that so many people know exactly where to find it. Windows along one side underneath the roof-like awning in this small strip mall give a sense of a small interior without much to offer. Limited seating outside is available for patrons wishing to enjoy the heat of summer or the cool chill of winter. Inside, one is pleasantly surprised to find a large space, extending back in a rectangular room, the bottom halves of the wall painted bright yellow with a red trim separating it from the white walls above, tables and chairs complete with an entire roll of paper towels at each setting. Condiments can be found in small, silver baskets, as well as at the condiment and water bar directly across from the order counter and cash registers. Walking back, one is invited to view the large butcher paper menus printed and hanging up against the right side wall, with colored paper talking bubbles promoting various menu items and alerting diners of the cash only policy. (No need to fear, a no-fee ATM is available at the back for those who have come with empty pockets out-turned.) Make your selections, walk up to one of three cashiers cramped into a small window opening with a view of the kitchen, to place orders. Numbers are given to take back to your tables, where you can chat, enjoy the smells of grilled burgers and deep-fried potatoes and await your meal. Burgers are presented on oval-shaped, white, plastic plates, without accountrements or parsley-decor, but with all of the bulk and height expected of an excellent, juicy burger.

What I ordered: Cody ordered the Big Punisher ($6.99), a diablo burger, pepper jack cheese, charred jalapenos, grilled onions and Piranha Sauce, with a side of fries ($2). Chris wanted the New Jack Zing ($6.99), a blackened burger, pepper jack cheese, grilled onions, charred jalapenos, and roasted garlic. I was most in the mood for the Soul Burger Number One ($7.99) with bacon, Swiss cheese, sauteed mushrooms, and grilled onions. We shared the Seven Cheese Mac ($2.50) and a 12-ounce Caramel Black Cow shake ($4), thick and sweet.Ray's Shake

What I loved: Fries and shake! The large “mini devil” sized burger, mostly meat rather than bread-centered and the cheese and condiments a perfect balance of flavors.

Why I loved it: The food is good. The portions typically generous and the space easy-going. No frills and no expectation, just real, good food.

Cost: Average ($6.99 to $16.99 per one-pound-plus burger)

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