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Ray's the Steaks and Retro Ray's (Next Door) - Michael Landrum's Steakhouses in Courthouse

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I don't see a thread for the Arlington location of RTS yet so I started one. Rocks - If I've missed it, my apologies.

Just wanted to comment on my first visit there - it was everything I was expecting and more. As much as I like cool/hip decor/non-human eye candy in a restaurant, I really only ask three things of a place - good food, good wine list and good service. RTS was outstanding on all three counts. My wife took me for my birthday and having read quite a bit about it over the last few months on eGullet, I was expecting an exceptional experience and we got it. The service was prompt, attentive, friendly and not intrusive from the moment we got there through us walking out the door. The wine list is all its been said to be. Lots on really interesting, really great, really affordable selections - we had an amazing Cab (can't remember the name - it started with an "A" and was $28 a bottle) that, for the price, is probably the best value I've ever seen in a California Cab. Started off a little tight (to be expected in a 2002) but was still delicious and just opened up beautifully through dinner. And big bonus points for it being served at the proper temperature!

We both started with soup - I had the sherried crab bisque and my wife had the onion. They were both fantastic although I enjoyed mine more - of course anything made with that much cream has to be good biggrin.gif . For our entrees I had the hanger steak and my wife had the brochettes (I think I spelled that right). The hanger was simply the most flavorful piece of meat I've ever had and we have friends who their own beef cattle in MD. The steak will forever change how I judge good meat. Cooked perfectly at medium rare with bleu cheese crumbles. The brochettes and assorted veggies were also very good but I paled in comparison to the hanger steak. The sides were also as delicious as has been said before. The portions were quite generous and I look forward to finishing that steak tonight - and a nice touch when we got our meals boxed up for home, we got a refill on the sides.

Being a big fan of key lime pie, there was no way to pass that up and man was it good! I'm not one for fanfare, my wife knows this and made no mention it was my birthday when she made reservations. It happened to slip out at some point during the night and the server made a point of telling me happy birthday and the desert was on the house. It is those little touches that really make a place shine. I can't wait to get back and try a different wine and have that hanger steak again.

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So, should I change the birthday/wedding anniversary date? We were at the last dinner organized by Jacques (when he was going under a different name) on Feb. 15. We considered THAT Valentine's Day, albeit one shared with a bunch of (mostly) strangers.

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On a whim yesterday afternoon at about 3:00, I pulled out my cell phone and put in a call to Ray's the Steaks and left a message asking if my three kids and I could get in for an early dinner that evening. About a half hour later, Michal calls me back and says yes he can get us in at 6 (so long as we are out by 7:30). I say thank you very much, we'll see you at 6. It must have been Jared's night off because Michael was working the front of the house.

Things were kind of bustley in there yesterday evening, and even though Michael was not at the stove, everything, from the bisque, the scallops, to the steaks to the desserts looked and tasted as though he was. The one mistake Michael made was to mention that he had one order of a steak he called the "sidekick" which apparently is a smaller version of the Cowboy. Well, that started a fight among my three kids as to which one would get it. The middle one bowed out of the competition and the youngest won the game of rock, paper, scissors. In the end, it turned out that one of the other tables had ordered it out from under us.

Michael; thanks again for your wonderful hospitality. The kids and I appreciate you getting us in on such short notice. And my daughter forgives you for the 3rd degree regarding her upcoming prom.

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15 Minutes (give or take....I got distracted at one point...) of hitting re-dial and I've scored a table for Friday the 13th.

Now I just need to break the news to the husband.

I can't imagine him being too upset. :lol:

I was thinking though how nice it would be if they opened a bit earlier. Say at 5 or so on Nationals game nights. That would be one fine meal to have before hitting the stadium.

A girl can dream.

Jennifer

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First time back in a while - good stuff as awlays - and I had the chance to try a few new things.

Grilled Calamari with Clams Casino stuffing - they were able to coax the squid into being tender and the filling was luxurious and not overly "clammy".

And the Milk Chocolate Mousse was just the type of chocolate dessert I like - cremay, light, not too bitter, not too sweet and pure chocolate taste with nothing to distract from the flavor but a little dollop of whipped cream.

Ray's is all about the steaks, of course. But it wouldn't be nearly the restaurant it is if they didn't back the steaks up with the consistently good supporting cast - soups, sides, salads, desserts.

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Ray's the Steaks Day 2 - the gift that keeps on giving.

Leftovers of three New York Strips sliced and heated in the oven with a drizzle of Olive Oil and some sea salt

steakoven0tk.jpg

On a baguette with leftover mushroom brandy cream sauce and gorgonzola along with the fresh potatoes and spinach they always provide

steaksand4cp.jpg

Almost as good the second day.

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Bill:

That is absolutely pornographic.

And I still have a few slices left for a snack when I get home tonight.

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Ooooh, that looks divine. Lovely, Bill!

I'm debating whether or not to do Ray's for my birthday or go to NYC. Hmmmm.

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I'm spoiled when it comes to steaks.  I foreswear ordering a steak at any place other than Ray's the Steaks or some other place that has been sanctioned by Michael Landrum (Corduroy).  Anything else is bound to be a disappoinment.

Yes, dammit! Michael has spoiled the steak experience at practically every other place that serves beef. :lol:

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Okay, so feel free to laugh at me, but my husband's birthday is this coming Tuesday (the 14th). He has always wanted to try Ray's, as have a small group of our closest friends.

So, what are the chances of us getting a reservation for six people next Tuesday night? Slim? None? And when do I attempt to call?

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can't hurt to try - they take calls between 2 and 4 I believe - you may have to be flexible and eat early though

fwiw - I got a same day reservation there about 6 weeks ago - called at 3 - was eating like a king at 6

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Okay, so feel free to laugh at me, but my husband's birthday is this coming Tuesday (the 14th).  He has always wanted to try Ray's, as have a small group of our closest friends.

So, what are the chances of us getting a reservation for six people next Tuesday night?  Slim?  None?  And when do I attempt to call?

I'd say the chances of getting a reservation for next Tuesday are fair to good. The days that are the most difficult are the weekends. During the week is noticably better.

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Thank you for the advice. I have been trying to call over the last hour, but it is just busy. :lol:

Maybe I will try again tomorrow...

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From Tom:

"Ray's the Steaks blazed a trail when it opened in Arlington and began serving good cuts of meat for about half the cost of a proper steak dinner in the city. Del Merei Grille continues that happy trend, with a roster of steaks that are offered with a choice of two side dishes and an optional sauce."

So I guess that Tom thinks that the trail we blazed at Ray's was a happy trail...

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So I guess that Tom thinks that the trail we blazed at Ray's was a happy trail...

I can hear Roy whistling now...

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Bloody Apron and Napkin-Hat Set    $12

How much extra for a large rusty cleaver and a hockey mask?

Edited to add: Great idea btw! I'll be by for a couple of those cowboy steaks soon.

Edited by Al Dente

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I'll leave the cooking to Michael, but I want the plastic deer in the front window for my patio.

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I neglected to mention--a 90 minute time restriction service for your home dining is available free of charge.

And each order comes with an unlimited supply of arrogance, absolutely free.

How much for extra "hand trimmings?"

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I'll leave the cooking to Michael, but I want the plastic deer in the front window for my patio.

I always thought it was a reindeer personally... Doesn't he have a red nose like Rudolph? Or is he simply drinking up the excess wine when no one is looking?

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