Greg and I have been dining at Ray’s the Steaks since we first met and before the existence of Hellburger, Ray’s to the Third, and other Ray’s locations. When we lived in Colonial Village, we dined at Ray’s every one or two weeks. It located in a small space, between Pho 75 and Guajillo. There was always a wait, often times more than an hour, the service was always terrible, and the steaks were amazing.
Last night (approximately six years after our first dining experience at Ray’s) we went back to Ray’s to celebrate Greg’s birthday with some family. Ray’s the Steaks moved several years ago and is now in a larger space less than a mile from the original location. Consistent to its roots, the service was poor. The waitress couldn’t tell the difference between a lemon and lime and never brought out limes when requested. I had hoped to surprise Greg with a key lime pie for dessert with candles but we ended up with a slice and one candle. To top it off, the waitress forgot to ask anyone else if they would like dessert before dropping off the check. At least the waitress remembered our table, unlike a previous dining experience when our waiter completely forgot about us including closing out our check.
Since we first started dating, I have stopped eating red meat and chicken so I can’t comment on the steaks. From our table it appeared the hanger steak was the winner out of all the steaks. Greg had a huge cowboy cut and liked it but wasn’t as enthusiastic about it as usual when dining at Ray’s. Other guests tried out the filet mignon and enjoyed it but weren’t wowed. I had the shrimp scampi and a house salad. The scampi was good but nothing to write home about and the house salad is simple – mostly greens with a few cherry tomatoes coated in a balsalmic vinaigrette. I have learned to order the appetizer portion of the scampi or scallops as the entrée portion generally includes only one additional shrimp or scallop but costs $10 more than the app.
Overall, it was a great night celebrating with family but Ray’s was definitely better in the good ole days when rudeness was the status quo of the restaurant staff, the wait was long, but the steaks were the best around town.
Bottom line: Although still listed in the top 100 very best restaurants by the Washingtonian, Ray’s moved down a few slots on our list (to be posted soon). We will likely continue to stop by once in while when Greg has a hankering for a steak as its close to us, the value is good, and they have non-steak options for me but won’t resume frequenting the restaurant as often as we once did in the past.