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Ray's The Classics, Silver Spring - Michael Landrum's Classic Steakhouse Sold To His Trusted Employees

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Lunch?

Went by there on Thursday to meet a friend for lunch..locked up tight at 12:10. SOmeone was on the phone at the front desk...but did not see (or want to see) me at the door.

Is Ray's not open for lunch any longer?

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interesting. I went a month or so ago and we were one of two tables, so maybe they don't have enough customers? We were there @ 1:00 on a Friday and I also thought they were closed, but the door was open and they said come on in. I did love that steak salad though, one of the best I have ever had.

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Does anyone know what the average price on drinks and apps at the bar is(or if there are any after-work specials?) Thanks!

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Lunch?

Went by there on Thursday to meet a friend for lunch..locked up tight at 12:10. SOmeone was on the phone at the front desk...but did not see (or want to see) me at the door.

Is Ray's not open for lunch any longer?

When I was there mid-June, I noticed a sign in the window saying that they wouldn't be doing lunch during the summer.

FYI--the chopped steak dinner is insanely good.

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BTW-If you want a Saturday night reservation make sure you call more than a week in advance. We called Monday and they already had a waiting list. ;)

By some bizarre stroke of good fortune, Gubeen and I walked in just past 8 on Saturday evening and lucked into an available two-top. Go figure.

It's been a while since we ate in the dining room instead of the bar, but there were some notable changes. There are now polite warnings on the menu encouraging unwary diners to speak up in advance if they don't prefer their steaks cooked to high-char perfection, and the regular steak choices in the dining room have been pruned down to NY strip, filet mignon, and the cowboy, although special cuts remain a possibility. Luckily there were a couple of my beloved hanger steaks available. The shift in emphasis toward the grill station has been dramatic, with nearly every entrée now built on a grilled component. Fortunately, Michael's new grill chef is pretty much up-to-snuff...all of our items were as delicious as ever, including the shellfish. Do try the onion soup - not your typical oignon gratinée served in the ubiquitous crock, but a soup plate of the roastiest, beefiest onion soup in ages. Marvelous.

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I think everytime I hit up RTC, I love it more and more. I know a lot of people love RTS, but I can't argue with the selection or proximity of RTC to my house. Last night, after having spent the day out at the AT&T National, gf and I had the hankering for a nice meal, and headed over to Silver Spring to put a cap to an already excellent day.

The Bar menu is a godsend. Interesting, for you conspiracy theorists, the bar menu reads something like "Ray's The Steaks at Ray's The Bar." I chose not to read into it because my stomach was becoming irate. So, while gf opted for the awesome deal of the chopped-steak dinner, I decided to go with the hanger steak dinner w/ onion soup and the coconut cake. The spiced nature of the onion soup is glorious and you can't argue with the hanger steak perfection, but really, for me, the highlight was actually the coconut cake. Light, fluffy, and just the right amount of sweetness, I had to finish the entire damn piece because it was so good and I felt guilty if it were to go to waste.

Best of all, this was the best value on a meal I've gotten at RTC yet, and I'm looking forward to making the restaurant one of my haunts from now on.

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We've been able to seat 4 at the bar tables at 6:30 on a Thursday several times, never a problem. I think service is faster if you sit at the actual bar and not tables, though, because the bartenders have to cover both the bar tables and, well, the bar.

Due to traffic issues, we didn't arrive until 7:00 on a recent Wednesday but three of us easily secured a bar area table. Service from the bartender was great.

On future visits, I will probably stick to the hanger or rib-eye (unless one of the special cuts are available). Chopped steak is not my thing, not sure why. My friends, who were newbies to Ray's, still have not stopped raving about their meals. And one of them is fortunate to live two blocks away.

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Dinner at the bar is the best deal ever! I had the wonderful crab bisque, hangar steak, and a piece of key lime pie for something like $23? Michael can correct me if I'm off by a dollar or two. But seriously-- for dinner? Who can beat that???

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The moist, fresh coconut cake I brought home tonight was easily the best I've had there.

Those of you addicted to your Gold Card awards might want to take note that they no longer accept American Express.

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I had the diver scallops for the first time the other night and was kicking myself immediatly afterwards for having never gotten them before. They were so good they made the fantastic onion soup seem kind of ordinary by comparison.

The mac and cheese is much improved, as well, it is considerably less soupy and carried more flavor than the last time we had it.

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I got a bunch of apples at the farmer's market when I was in DC on Sunday and I am trying to recreate the charlottes from RTC days of yore. Any ideas?

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I don't think the Washingtonian mention is a diss, as I understand the term. People continue to go to Ray's the Classics, and they continue to have high praise for the food. But because they keep ordering the same things, apparently based on what they know and love from Ray's the Steaks, the menu had to reflect that, and that constitutes a change but not necessarily for the worse. That is a comment, not on the restaurant, which continues to get high marks, but on the clièntele, which does not care to experiment. As for the Tim Carman piece, I agree that Michael Landrum is an interesting character and worthy of journalistic focus. I knew he went to Andover because he sometimes refers to time spent at the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library, which is where it is. But what about the published assertion that he did a tour in the Israeli army? And as for staying free and clear of bank loans, there have been references right here on dr.com that estabishing Ray's the Classics put him in serious hock. Carman seems to deny that without addressing it directly. And then there is the issue of chefs. Apparently, Landrum himself is manning the grill at RTC. Is that a long range plan? And who is continuing to turn out the wonderful chops at RTS, especially the mysterious but delectable calotte, which I have blissfully consumed on two recent occasions? Last time, the waitress said, "Here's your culotte." I said, "'That's a pair of pants, honey, I just want some meat." Under any name, it was very, very good.

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Hrmmm - what was said in the Washingtonian? Can't find it online. Carman's article is interesting. Who knew?

As for the calottes - what is served at RtS and RtC are two different cuts. ML ran a butchering class for dr.com early this year and spent much time describing the difference between the two. I haven't had it at RtC in a long time :blink: Also, I'm 99% sure there's a regular grill guy at RtC. Michael was definitely chatting at the bar with customers the last few times I was there while steaks continued to come out of the back.

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Hrmmm - what was said in the Washingtonian? Can't find it online. Carman's article is interesting. Who knew?

As for the calottes - what is served at RtS and RtC are two different cuts. ML ran a butchering class for dr.com early this year and spent much time describing the difference between the two. I haven't had it at RtC in a long time :blink: Also, I'm 99% sure there's a regular grill guy at RtC. Michael was definitely chatting at the bar with customers the last few times I was there while steaks continued to come out of the back.

Kliman mentions the menu items which are no longer available as well as the valet. He seems to think that RTC has become RTSII. And while he says it's not a bad thing, he calls it a knockoff.

I seem to recall ML making the case (here) that new restaurants should not be reviewed for a while, in order to let themselves sort out who they are and what they do. He seems to be right.

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Last time, the waitress said, "Here's your culotte." I said, "'That's a pair of pants, honey, I just want some meat." Under any name, it was very, very good.
Wasn't one of the factions during the French Revolution known as the "Sans Culotte"? Maybe if RTC is sans callote it signifies a revloution of its own.

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That is a comment, not on the restaurant, which continues to get high marks, but on the clièntele, which does not care to experiment.

You could argue that "Ray's The Classics" is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's not called "Ray's The Avant Garde," so maybe people subconsciously think that by going to a place that emphasizes the classics, they are going to do just that, and stick to their favorites from RTS.

That said - please don't get rid of the jumbo prawns. Those are fantastical.

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The last time we were at RTC, some of the other customers (sniff) looked as though they couldn't get a

resy at Clyde's so ...

Those who try to find out "What's up?' by trying to do a Vulcan mind-meld on ML

often find the experience disquieting.

I find it almost unimaginable that RTC would be sucked down to the pathetic level of the

geo-gastronomy of Silver Spring.

[incoherent ramblings ... I must stop here]

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You could argue that "Ray's The Classics" is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's not called "Ray's The Avant Garde," so maybe people subconsciously think that by going to a place that emphasizes the classics, they are going to do just that, and stick to their favorites from RTS.

That said - please don't get rid of the jumbo prawns. Those are fantastical.

I think Kliman's Needle ignores and posts suggesting customers' tastes were the deciding factor in menu changes at RTC oversimplifies all the myriad factors that impact a restaurant's menu. Customer tastes and demand is certainly one factor, but you also need to consider how the kitchen is set up, what it can efficiently accommodate once it is up and running at full speed, the workflow, etc. A restauranteur won't know how these factors will impact the food until the place has been run through its paces.

Kliman makes it sound like the changes at the restaurant equal a slide in quality ("statement maker" to "knockoff") instead of conscious and deliberate decisions based on the performance of the restaurant over many months. My bet is on the latter.

BTW: valet parketing is gone but the parking behind the Lee Building is now free.

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I was starting to get worried that Michael might think I didn't like his food since whenever I was at RTC I would order 1 of three things:

1. wine

2. the scrumptious coconut cake

3. both

So, last night I stopped by and saw Crab Royale on the menu. Incredibly, I had never noticed it before. It was fabulous! Lightly (extremely lightly) breaded, exceedingly moist.

Of course, my arm was twisted and I broke my one dessert a day rule and inhaled er I mean ordered the coconut cake. Mmmmm.

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