Ray’s…to the Third

Written by on April 1, 2013 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

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

How I heard of this place: Obama ate at Ray’s Hell Burger. When their lease ran out, the owners took it across the street into a more upscale, corporate setting at the street level of a condo/apartment complex.

Rays the Third

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).

Rays Seating

Ambiance: With only minimal signage outside: two red awnings with RAYS written in bold, black lettering over a yellow oval over a chalkboard sandwich board proclaiming to passerby that Ray’s is here, everyone knows exactly where to find it. The dark windows reflecting scenes from across the street give little hint as to what is beyond the windowed doors. Inside, Ray’s Hell Burger frequenters are surprised to find a large, very clean, corporate space. Dining room seating with full service to our left, has us veering right to find our own seats in the mostly empty space. Quiet surroundings, entitled employees who could care less and over-worked kitchen staff turn us off of Ray’s, but our tastebuds keep us there to enjoy one more burger, shake and side of mac & cheese.

Rays Corporate Interior

What I ordered: My husband and I shared the New Jack Zing ($10.99), a blackened burger, pepper jack cheese, grilled onions, charred jalapenos, and roasted garlic.

Rays Meal

We shared a mini serving of Mac & Cheese ($2.50), a side of tater tots ($2.50) and a 12-ounce Caramel shake ($4), thick and sweet.

Rays with Mac & Cheese

What I loved: Tots and shake!

Why I loved it: The food remains tasty, though less generous by way of portions as demand grows, set in a great location, while more Arlingtonian than we had grown accustomed to.

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

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