Washington DC: Ray’s The Steaks


Jason is a Vancouver area food blogger who hailed from Washington DC. Check out his blog at Eat Vancouver. He is the one who provided us idea of places to eat in Washington DC and they turned out excellent. Of a few suggestions, he specifically mentioned of a place that is a “must try”. That place was Ray’s The Steaks.

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Ray’s The Steaks is undoubtedly a hugely popular restaurant judging by the crowd. It is located on a strip mall with rather limited parking. We had to wait 10 minutes to get one spot. By the time we got a spot, someone else promptly double parked behind us and left it there even until we were done with the dinner.

I read that Ray’s The Steaks is quite spartan and it shows. Even the sign is just painted on and does not catch one’s eye at all. They even set up a drinking bin outside obviously for the customers who had to wait for a long time for a table.

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Like I earlier mentioned, the place is spartan. There is hardly any decor here — just the basic tables and chairs and empty walls. Their claim to fame is their steaks … and nothing but their steaks. So everything else does not matter. Even the menu is a piece of overused xerox’d paper. Suanne and I had a good chuckle over this because we had never seen a cheaper looking menu with such high prices on it.

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We got served very fast. They gave us two glasses of ice water which was what we needed.

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Ray’s The Steaks do have wine and a respectable selection of that too. Suanne and I are not wine people — we erupt in sensitive rashes that lasts for days the moment we drink more than two glasses! I believe it is in Asian genes … some of you may disagree but I do think that the Asian body does not tolerate wine as well as the white’s body.

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The knife looked meaner than the normal steak places. Looking around our neighboring tables we can see why — all of them have mean looking chunks of meat. The cuts are so big I got quite of a shock. I mean, I had seen large steaks but seriously not so many all around me. I thought … man, this is going to be fun. I LOVE steaks.

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The free cashew nets were slightly spicy and salty. We like this.

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The bread was disappointing. They served this without butter. We did not care much for the bread anyway. We were waiting so anxiously for the main course.

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We ordered a sauteed mushroom side dish which costs $5. It came served in a skillet and there were so much of it too. The mushrooms were absolutely delightful with the steaks although frankly, we did not even need to order this because of the food to come.

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The steaks came with two sides, also served on skillets. We were set …

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The star picture of this post above was awful. Too bad. The above is the House Special we got. Since it was a huge menu, we thought we would not go wrong to order something called “The House Special”. All restaurants should name their top dish like this so that new customers would know what their top dish is.

The House Special is formally known as New York Strip Au Poivre with Brandy Mushroom Cream, Topped with Bleu Crumbles. This slab costs slightly over $30. I should have taken this picture with some perspective against a fork or something to show the size of it. It is 1.5″ thick.

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They apparently takes pride in making the perfect steak. Of course when they took our order, they asked how we wanted our steak done (medium rare is what we always wanted it). When they serve us, they asked that we cut the steak and confirm if this is exactly done correctly because if it is not, they take it back to the kitchen. Oh … best!! I must declare that this piece of steak falls under one of the most memorable steak I ever had. It was huge … he he he … and after a while, it became disgustingly huge!!

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The other steak we ordered is nicknamed The Signature Steak. The Signature Steak is described as “The Cowboy Cut — a 28 ounce (at least!) Bone-In Rib-Eye”. This piece is at least 1″ thick, 7″ by 4″. It came with horseradish and grilled onions. You only get a choice of rare, medium rare and medium only — apparently they refuse to make their signature dish in any other way lest it damages their reputation!

The outside was extremely charred — shuddered a bit at it because it reminded us this could be “carcinogenic”. The shudder lasted only a brief second or two … we dug in. Oh … this one costs in the region of $30 too.

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This is one meal that started off with excitement over the looks of the steak but sorry to say that for us, it ended with somewhat of a disgust! It was way, way too much meat that it really puts us off. As best as we tried, we could not finish the steaks. Too much of a good thing huh?

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We left this untouched.

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The total damage was $88 with tips and taxes.

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Seeing we had some left, they came by and gave us a box to take home the left overs. Almost everyone had their to go because of the amount of food they serve. We politely took it but when we got back to the hotel, it went straight into the dustbin. We can’t bear to look at another piece of steak … at least not for today, tomorrow maybe. Anyway, steaks are awful as leftovers.

Oh, don’t get me wrong … Ray’s The Steaks is a fantastic place. The food was awesome but it’s just that we ordered obscenely too much food. Will we go to a place like Ray’s The Steak again? Absolutely — in a heart beat … but we now know that our puny stomachs cannot take the abuse from a 28-ounce (at least!) piece of steak.

Ray's the Steaks on Urbanspoon

6 thoughts on “Washington DC: Ray’s The Steaks

  1. Wow! The New York Strip special looked like it was perfectly cooked and was presented in a great way. The portions look as though you could split a meal thus reducing the size of the check and helping keep our waistlines in check too.🙂 Thank you and now I know who to contact about where to eat when I go to Vancouver!

    Steak-Pro – Great Flank Steak recipe!

    PS. Thanks for putting up this recipe with the KEY to flank steak. It is crucial to not overcook this cut which is a typical mistake for the average cook. Another is the rest time AND slicing of the steak across the grain at an angle. Keep up the good work.🙂

  2. Re: wines. I don’t think it is an alcohol issue (I am Chinese and have low alcohol tolerance), it might instead be a sulfite or a tannin issue (both found in wines). Have you tried white wines and, if so, do you have the same reaction? If you want to try whites, I will suggest you either Riesling or Gewürztraminer.

    It seems you went for broke in this meal! Two 28 ounces steaks?! If I try hard enough, I might barely finish one of them, as long as I don’t eat the sides.

    I wish there were restaurants like this in Vancouver, i.e., where the emphasis is in the food, not necessarily ambiance. Having said that, I think I will have to go to Brave Bull (http://www.dinehere.ca/restaurant.asp?r=1312) one of these days…

  3. Those are prime steaks, dry aged in house and butchered by the owner himself. One of the better steak deals I have ever seen.

    I’m impressed you guys tried to tackle the cowboy cut! I tried that once and had to bring nearly half home, which made a nice couple of sandwiches the next day! If you bring steak home, they also include some extra creamed spinach and mashed potatoes in the doggy bag.

  4. The price is quite reasonable, but it depends on the grade of the beef. For USDA Choice, it is a fair price. For USDA Prime, that is a steal. Either way it looks good and is making me hungry. Glad to see you made your way out of the food courts. Unfortunately, a food court in the US is not the same as one in Canada (Richmond) or in Malaysia. I avoid it at all cost.

  5. That meal looked good, though the portions were huge…but I guess everything is a little bit bigger in the States then in Canada lol. What was the green side Ben? Is that creamed spinach?

  6. There are no homeless people in D.C.???

    I know plenty of homeless that would love to have a prime cut of steak and thank you gladly for it.

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