Editors' pick

Ray's Hell-Burger

$$$$ ($14 and under)
Please note: Ray's Hell-Burger is no longer a part of the Going Out Guide
Ray's Hell-Burger  photo
Leah L. Jones/The Post

Editorial Review

2008 Fall Dining Guide
By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008

There's still no sign out front. But fans of the most publicly dissected hamburger around know exactly where to go to get their fix: this Arlington storefront with not much more than some B horror film posters and a bunch of wooden tables to dress it. Michael Landrum, the owner of Ray's the Steaks in the same block and Ray's the Classics in Silver Spring, distinguishes his new place from the pack with a 10-ounce whopper of a sandwich built from freshly ground, hand-trimmed beef and his usual generosity: Sides of watermelon and corn on the cob are built into even the basic $6.95 hamburger, and a number of toppings -- mushrooms, peppers -- are free. A guy can spend upwards of $17.50 on the signature attraction, but choices such as "The Burger of Seville," which packs in foie gras, bordelaise sauce and (chef, you must be joking!) white truffle oil, have nothing on the simpler models. Customers place their orders at a counter overlooking the big grill, then listen for their names to be called. The strongest brew available is root beer, but it's great, and while you might wish for french fries, Hell-Burger recently began offering sides of chunky potato salad and creamy coleslaw. The downside? We appreciate the fact that it's toasted, but the brioche bun tends to fall apart under the weight and juice of the hamburger. Otherwise, Landrum has thought of everything. Next to the condiments on your table is a big roll of paper towels.

Michael Landrum's other restaurants:
Ray's: The Steaks
Ray's: The Classics
Ray's: The Steaks at East River
Ray's: The Game
Ray's: The Glass
Ray's: The Catch