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First Look: Ray’s to the Third in Rosslyn

by ARLnow.com — September 22, 2011 at 11:50 am 14,609 50 Comments

With no formal announcement to speak of, save a modest “now open” sign outside the door, restauranteur Michael Landrum opened his latest “Ray’s” restaurant in Rosslyn last night.

“Ray’s to the Third” (1650 Wilson Blvd) is, at first blush, a casual-ified version of Ray’s the Steaks, with a bar. The menu, which is still being worked on, consisted primarily of steak and seafood items from Ray’s the Steaks (2300 Wilson Blvd) at a slightly lower price point. (The familiar Ray’s steak dishes are now all served as steak frites.)

There was a small but relatively inexpensive beer and wine selection. A glass of the house red was only $4, as was a bottle of the Hofbrau Oktoberfest, but it’s not clear if that’s a permanent price. The bar area included two flat screen TVs, a couple of beers on draft, a liquor selection and seating for about eight people. A couple of chairless tables were placed behind the bar.

So far, it appears that Ray’s³ (referred to as “Hell³” at the bar) is an attempt to simplify and, at the same time, add to the existing Ray’s the Steaks formula. The simple brown-and-beige decor and the fact that virtually every entree — including every steak — comes with fries and a salad is  part of the “simplify” plan. The bar and the slightly reduced prices can be seen as an attempt to make Ray’s³ into a bit more of an everyday neighborhood hangout — an “add.” What’s not apparent is what exactly will come next.

Staff hinted last night that more changes are coming. There will be additions to the menu including, perhaps, some “bar food.” There will also be milkshakes. The intrepid souls who sat down for a meal (the restaurant still lacks a permanent sign) were treated to a free sample of a very thick, rich banana nut milkshake. Alcoholic milkshakes, like White Russians, were also said to be in the works.

Last night was described as a “very soft opening,” although you wouldn’t know it from the virtually flawless food preparation and attentive service. Landrum and managers wandered the restaurant at times, asking the 15-20 customers who filled up less than half the tables about their meals. A couple of interesting appetizers were on the menu but were not being served. Deviled eggs, a cheese platter and a $10.99 dish simply described as applewood-smoked bacon — nothing more — were all unavailable.

Ray’s³ will no doubt be a welcome addition to the Rosslyn dining scene, although the location is a bit of a no man’s land. Located a block down from the two existing Ray’s Hell Burger locations, and on the same block as BBQ joint Red, Hot and Blue, it’s not clear if the new Ray’s will attract the same kind of crowds as the more Metro-accessible Ray’s the Steaks or the parking lot-equipped Ray’s Hell Burgers. But it should be fun to see what Landrum has up his sleeves in the next couple of weeks.

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  • Tim

    Landrum should open a rooftop bar called “Ray’s the Roof.”

    • Fro

      GOLD JERRY GOLD

      • Tabby

        Haha

    • MC 703

      HANDS DOWN BEST BAD PUN IN THE HISTORY OF ARLNOW.

      +infinity

    • Christy

      Love it. You really Rays the Bar.

  • TGEoA

    I hope he opens a strip club called Rays the Skirt

    • Tabby

      I hope he does not.

    • Tre

      Other horrible business ideas:
      Ray’s the Taxes (tax reform think tank)
      Ray’s the Kids (childcare)
      Ray’s the Charles (club for blind and/or ugly people)

      • Tabby

        Ray’s the Lid (Port-A-Potties)

        • Tre

          Ray’s my Eyebrow (cosmetic surgery)

          • Tabby

            *applause*

          • Tabby

            I mean, I Ray’s My Glass.

          • Tre

            Well done, one can only Ray’s the Bar so far… and i’m spent

          • Tabby

            I’m still LMAO

      • SouthArlJD

        Ray’s a Ruckus (either for riots or perhaps a wild dance joint).

        Ray’s to the Top (institute for educational excellence)

        Ray’s the Alarm (home protection)

        • Tabby

          Ray’s a Stink (gym)

    • KalashniKEV

      I hope he opens an unlicensed Massage Parlor called “Ray’s my…”

      ;)

  • Lou

    Who needs formal announcements when you can tease an article out of the WBJ food reporter and a half dozen blogs at your whim?

  • http://www.novabrian.com NOVA Brian

    I’m excited to try the new location. Love being able to walk to them all. I’ll keep going back, as long as they don’t Ray’s the Prices.

    • Greg

      Hopefully the landlord doesn’t Ray’s the Rent.

      • Tabby

        That would Ray’s His Ire.

  • OX4

    “…but the location is a bit of a no man’s land. Located a block down from the two existing Ray’s Hell Burger locations…”

    huh? One block over from the original location is no-man’s land?

    • CW

      Yes. All three are in a no-man’s land. East of Rhodes so no longer Court House but not really in Rosslyn proper. This would really only be material to someone so lazy as to be unwilling to walk five minutes, but the point is that the location is not really in the heart of a destination neighborhood where it is surrounded by other attractions.

      • Lumiere

        Which is why it doesn’t cost 40-50 bucks for those steaks…

        • LP

          You’re right.

          That’s why there steaks aren’t $40-50. They’re more like $25-35.

      • Aaron

        I think the important takeaway from the “no man’s land” discussion is that there’s absolutely no way to reach this new location by metro (Courthouse and Rosslyn stations are like at least a mile away) or by car, since there’s NEVER parking in that area ever on weeknights. In addition, since we know that white people don’t ride metrobus, let’s just rule that option out as well. In addition, there aren’t even any cupcake or BFF stores nearby either, so it’s a total waste of your time to head there for just one purpose.

        So, if you don’t live in the immediate vicinity of Rosslyn/Courthouse, please, shoo.

        • CW

          I wasn’t saying I agreed with the argument, and I pointed out that one would have to be pretty lazy to not be able to make it down there; I was just saying that it’s not the sort of location where someone’s going to walk right off the metro and happen across the place.

          • Aaron

            Oh, I don’t agree with the argument either, but I’ll keep repeating it because it sounds so right. It’s just got that truth-y feel to it, you know?

          • CW

            So if I were to say that there were a quantifiable differentiation in profitability and desirability between that location and, say, where Hard Times is located, you would emphatically disagree? Perhaps we could ask some commercial real estate companies in the area about their rents?

            Or you could just respond with more playground sarcasm.

        • V Dizzle

          Look on a map…closer to 1/4 mile from Rosslyn Metro and less than 1/2 mile from Courthouse. All of the adjacent restaurants are well visited, including the former Ray’s the Steaks, so I’m not sure where your info is coming from.

          • V Dizzle

            ..or maybe it was undetected sarcasm…

          • Aaron

            Probably not undetected sarcasm…

            Outsiders/interlopers should also be aware that the “no man’s land” referenced above is a prime location for angry bee swarms, roaming packs of cougars, and Advanced Towing.

            Mad Rose in Clarendon, to the best of my knowledge, has none of these problems and would probably be a better destination.

          • Vinh An Nguyen

            Roaming packs of cougars = the housewives of Arlington County.

        • Choogirl

          Hmmm. I live across the street from the Rosslyn metro and it only took me 5 minutes to walk to the restaurant.

  • arlcyclist

    It may be somewhat of a no-man’s land now but I bet Landrum is licking his chops (pun intended) at the thought of the new development project at the 1700 block of Wilson… http://www.arlnow.com/2010/09/17/development-at-1716-wilson-blvd-moving-forward/

    • Hattie McDaniel

      Yes, all of those LEED Gold environmental certified tenants will surely be wanting to get their beef on.

      • arlcyclist

        Oh I get it. Because progressive types don’t eat beef.

  • Tabby

    Landrum certainly has his detractors but he sure has some good ideas (and well-executed ones).

  • Lai

    So can I go to dinner there tonight? The article said there was a soft-opening but is it officially open for business now?

    • kr

      i was wondering the same

      • ba-da-bum

        I too wanted to Ray’s the Question

  • Ray

    I guess he bought enough Coke products to qualify for the classy sidewalk sandwich board sign.

  • Don Ager

    Arlnow
    What’s up with the cubed ³ after the Ray’s name? No, i get it but it’s so dang small i couldn’t tell what it was until i copied it and enlarged it to see the 3. at first thought it was the circled r for registered trademark etc.
    annoying

    • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

      It’s the name of the restaurant.

  • cahill22201

    He should open a dried fruit emporium/bed & breakfast called Ray’s Inn.

  • steve85

    Soooooo…… its ok to have 3 restaurants within blocks of each other; what is the world coming to. The food is good. Save some money and just put all of it in one location.

    • Jerry

      Wow. Just wow.

  • Tyrone to the Maxx

    Can’t ever get my black ass into his burger joint because the place is always jam packed. ray’s needs to open a White castle style place…sack them sliders

  • Gudrun

    The new restaurant is open. Walked by there yesterday and people were eating dinner. One thing to note is that there *is* parking available (better options than Hellburger), and it is also located a 10-15 minute walk from either the Rosslyn or Courthouse Metro stations.

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