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Ray's the Steaks and Ray's To The Third - Michael Landrum's Steakhouses (and Hell-Burgers) in Arlington

Local Chain Arlington Steakhouse Hamburgers

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#1551 DonRocks

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 03:53 PM

Ray’s Hell-Burger, now being served at Ray’s To The Third, may not be getting the massive world recognition it was getting two years ago (think about the ramifications of this: The President of the United States and The President of Russia go there for hamburgers), but it sure seemed to be doing pretty well Monday afternoon, and if you look at the pin-board near the front door ('Where in the world did you come from to get your Hell-Burger?’), there are so many pins on it, from so many places, that I’ll bet Michael Landrum wishes he’d made it ten times larger. 

 

I ordered about as simply as one can possibly order - an Original 10-Ounce Hell-Burger ($10.99), grilled, medium-rare, with nothing on it, no cheese, no side orders, and a glass of ice water.

 

Whatever Michael does to his hamburgers, I hope he never changes it. Essentially a ground up steak on a bun, it’s as good as I remember it being (I haven’t had one in over a year now). I added exactly one shake of salt (someone should start a specialty salt product called The Sheikh of Salt), and a dab of Gulden’s mustard on the plate for the occasional dunk, and that’s it.

 

Beefier than beef, Ray’s Hell-Burger remains arguably my favorite hamburger patty. Bone marrow and persillade is perfect with this sandwich, but that’s now a five-dollar topping. Even what I had, with tax and tip, was about $15.00, and with the bone marrow, it would have been over $20. This is a lot of money, but this is also a lot of burger. Delicious, and maintained in Italic in the Dining Guide.


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#1552 lion

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 12:17 PM

We also were there on Monday for an early dinner, and it was just as good as always. Fairly empty at 5:30, packed as we left close to 7pm.



#1553 collije

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 05:39 PM

Question, has the lofty high burger (talking about the meat pirmarily) quality been maintained since opening in your opinions? I discussed with someone recently that felt it fell off a bit (not the same remnants from steaks as it was in the beginning), their opinion..



#1554 DonRocks

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 08:07 PM

Question, has the lofty high burger (talking about the meat pirmarily) quality been maintained since opening in your opinions? I discussed with someone recently that felt it fell off a bit (not the same remnants from steaks as it was in the beginning), their opinion..

 

Joe, I don’t know. I realize that’s a non-answer, but I’ve never known the quality or type of beef or seasonings used in Hell-Burgers; only that they taste deliciously beefy (always have, still do). This may be the very first time I’ve ever had one plain - I usually get bone marrow and persillade, or sometimes the Vermont cheddar. The first time I ever tried one was with Epoisses, and it was a huge mistake because it was just too much of a good thing, like putting hot fudge on a pizza.

 

I’ve never known where or from whom Michael sources his beef (although I’ve heard Briggs thrown around in the past), or how much of the hamburgers are steak scraps, ground beef, etc. I suspect things have changed over time, as needed, but that’s pure speculation on my part. For all the times I’ve talked with Michael, he’s never really told me what goes into his Hell-Burgers, and he’s been very effective at keeping his secret recipe a secret.

 

A lot of words, without saying very much.


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#1555 JoshNE

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 08:27 PM

I had the original Hell burger a few times, and just last week we headed over to The Third.  It's still a hell of a burger, cooked perfectly (med-rare), with a nice big grind and loose texture.  I think this latest one was a bit undersalted as compared to the ones I remember from the past, but the amount of time in between those visits brings any real comparison into question.



#1556 zoramargolis

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 02:51 AM

I now get the buffalo burger to satisfy burger cravings. It is somewhat smaller and quite a bit less fatty than the regular hellburger, which my digestive system has rebelled against on more than one occasion.

#1557 collije

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 02:03 PM

Thanks, I just recall being in HellBurger in Year 1 and watching the meat being transported and ground there (that was awesome to see). I'm usually going crazy with the toppings too (The Dogcatcher is awesome isn't it?) but have not gotten in some time. Just an excuse for me to do a build your own, more basic version sometime soon.

 

When I visit Rays to the Third I'm usually getting the Steak N Cheesy Nice N Greasy haha.



#1558 DonRocks

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 02:08 PM

Thanks, I just recall being in HellBurger in Year 1 and watching the meat being transported and ground there (that was awesome to see). 

 

Are you talking about Michael himself hand-cutting meat behind the counter? I have never been convinced that this was anything more than show. The sheer numbers of hamburgers sold (sometimes near 1,000 a day) negate the possibility of this being representative.


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#1559 collije

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 03:10 PM

Are you talking about Michael himself hand-cutting meat behind the counter? I have never been convinced that this was anything more than show. The sheer numbers of hamburgers sold (sometimes near 1,000 a day) negate the possibility of this being representative.

 

Saw him once and I believe I saw someone else another time (think afternoon timeframes). But based on volume business I'd have to agree with you.



#1560 mdt

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 10:57 AM

Are you talking about Michael himself hand-cutting meat behind the counter? I have never been convinced that this was anything more than show. The sheer numbers of hamburgers sold (sometimes near 1,000 a day) negate the possibility of this being representative.

 

Folks were certainly hand grinding meat at the original location. My guess is that they had more grinders going once business really ramped up.



#1561 Marks

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 10:59 AM

First time we ate at the Classics, Michael took our order, cut our steaks and served the food.



#1562 hm212

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 09:33 PM

If you recall Hellburger started as a way for Michael to have a use for the meat scraps and then things just grew from there.



#1563 mtureck

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:06 PM

Great meal at Ray's the Steaks over the weekend, but so sad to end the meal with a little piece of fudge instead of the usual hot chocolate. I loved that hot chocolate!

 

It's been a while since I've been there...could have been the norm for a while.



#1564 Joe H

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 08:31 PM

When Michael gave up the lease for the original Ray's something was lost.  There was a kind of romance, a real character with that place. 



#1565 DonRocks

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 01:22 PM

reat meal at Ray's the Steaks over the weekend, but so sad to end the meal with a little piece of fudge instead of the usual hot chocolate. I loved that hot chocolate!

 

Are you talking about the Tiger Butter? I actually prefer this - it's one of those things I'm glad I don't have lying around the house because it would all be gone in one evening.

 

When Michael gave up the lease for the original Ray's something was lost.  There was a kind of romance, a real character with that place. 

 

Not to mention Michael Landrum, Michael Hartzer, and Jarad Slipp all under one small roof while waiting for Ray's: The Classics to open.


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#1566 Jimmy Chandler

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 02:07 PM

Great meal at Ray's the Steaks over the weekend, but so sad to end the meal with a little piece of fudge instead of the usual hot chocolate. I loved that hot chocolate!

 

It's been a while since I've been there...could have been the norm for a while.

 

It has been a long while, maybe 3-4 years? I'm not even sure they ever served the hot chocolate at the current location.

 

One thing about Ray's is that almost every time I go there the past few years -- and I go only occasionally -- is that something has usually changed each time. Since Mark left the wine list has shrunk, for example. And the bistro special doesn't include dessert any longer. etc etc.

 

Change is good, unless something that you like changes, then it's bad :)


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#1567 Joe H

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 10:50 PM

It has been a long while, maybe 3-4 years? I'm not even sure they ever served the hot chocolate at the current location.

 

One thing about Ray's is that almost every time I go there the past few years -- and I go only occasionally -- is that something has usually changed each time. Since Mark left the wine list has shrunk, for example. And the bistro special doesn't include dessert any longer. etc etc.

 

Change is good, unless something that you like changes, then it's bad :)

 

Great post.  Thank you.



#1568 Rhone1998

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 10:08 PM

I learned a long time ago to request my steaks "Medium" at every place, including all of the Landrum empire, in order to get what I considered "Medium Rare."  Otherwise, they invariably come out too rare for me.

 

Good advice, spot on tonight for both the Delmonico (a hedonistic, super beefy aged steak...loved it) and filet mignon au poivre our table ordered.  Both ordered medium and came out the hoped-for medium rare.  There's nothing I can say about RTS that others haven't said a thousand times here and elsewhere, but what a lovely meal to end the weekend.  We don't get here nearly often enough.


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