Tuesday, July 1, 2008

First Look: Ray's Hell - Burger

Over the past few months I've written a lot about hamburgers. These things are so hot right now you'd think they were made out of gold and served on pieces of the true cross.

From Five Guys to Z Burger to Good Stuff Eatery, DC is a burger town. But every town needs its mayor, and that mayor is Michael Landrum.

Ray's Hell-Burger (officially called Butcher Burgers) is exactly what you'd expect from Landrum, owner of Ray's the Steaks. There's no sign outside (yet) and the inside resembles a twenty something bachelor's apartment - bare white walls with a few obscure movie posters on them, mixed in with a few posters showing different cuts of meat. This is Landrum at his most playful, showing off his fun side.

Once you get to the counter you'll see a big open kitchen with Landrum leading the charge. They toast their own buns in a series of toasters, they grind the meat right in front of you and grill it up for you right before your very eyes.

The menu is simple: burgers with a variety of free toppings and cheeses, more awesome sodas than you could ever shake a stick at - they have Moxie and Cheerwine!!!! - and a free piece of corn on the cob and a nice slice of watermelon.

If food could talk, it would say one word: Summer.

A cheeseburger, cooked to medium-rare perfection, accompanied by a nice firm and sweet piece of corn and a fresh piece of watermelon. The flavors are so simple, so your old back yard on a hot summer's night, it's simply brilliant.

The burger feels fresh; it falls apart easily and reminds you what meat is supposed to taste like. You won't need a single drop of ketchup or squirt of mustard with this burger. Eat it the way whichever deity you favor made it; you'll be happier for it. The bun looks generic, and probably is, but did a great job of holding everything up while tasting great, and the tomatoes and lettuce are exactly what they should be.

Best of all, Apples and I walked out of Ray's Hell-Burger not feeling like death. No Five Guys hangover here, just an empty plate and a full stomach.

Next week I'll be standing in line at the opening of Spike's Good Stuff Eatery on the Hill, and eventually I'll review Z Burger; but I already feel biased towards Ray's. Much like it's big steak brother, the burger version embodies everything you'd want out of a hamburger joint - a great product in a relaxed atmosphere at a phenomenal price (burger, corn, and melon for under $7.00).

There may be a lot of burger places out there, but with Landrum giving even Mayor McCheese a run for his money, there's no doubt who's leading the pack.

1 comment:

Lizard said...

You forgot to mention the Cheerwine...which I'm assuming was a major part of your meal.