img_6875Several of our fellow food writers have recently provided some anecdotal evidence that suggests that Washington’s dining scene hasn’t been hit by the tough economic times as hard as some had feared.  If you remain unconvinced, this week should go a long way toward changing your mind.

After months of preparation, two of the most anticipated restaurant openings in Northern Virginia will take place almost back-to-back.  This evening, Michael Landrum opens Ray’s the Steaks in its new location at 2300 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington (paving the way for a new seafood-themed restaurant called Ray’s The Catch later this month in its current location).  On Thursday night, Robert Weidmaier opens his third establishment on King Street in Alexandria with Brabo (a laid-back ‘tasting room’ and a butcher shop will follow as part of Weidmaier’s relationship with Kimpton’s new Lorien Hotel and Spa).

img_6881If we’re living in a recession, maybe someone should mention it to these guys.

I stopped into Brabo this weekend to take a quick look around and snap some pictures.  And although I didn’t have the same opportunity to do so at Ray’s, I did manage to get a few shots through the windows.

Like most of you, we’ve been looking forward to these two for a while now.  After the jump, shots from the interiors of Brabo and Ray’s, along with information on hours and more details. (more…)

In the world of DC dining, Burger is apparently the new Black.  No sooner did we get home from Good Stuff Eatery last night than Elizabeth and I learned that Michael Landrum – the chef responsible for DC steak greats Ray’s the Steaks and Ray’s the Classics – opened a burger joint just a few doors down from his original Ray’s The Steaks.  

Thinking ahead, we figured we’d swing by and take a few exterior pictures this evening and plot our visit in the coming days. We were expecting to see a line out the door, judging by the response Landrum’s announcement received throughout the DC blogosphere. 

What fools we were!  Like it was even remotely possible that we would park, walk up to Ray’s Hell-Burger, snap some photos and just leave?

As you might expect, we found ourselves drawn inside by the promise of juicy, delicious burgers and a line that was only three people deep when we arrived (though it grew considerably by the time we received our food and it remained busy throughout our meal).  Staycations be damned, the holiday weekend seems to have led enough people out of town to get us to the counter without too much delay.  What we found there after the jump. (more…)

UPDATE: While we’re on the topic of Landrum, it’s worth noting that he announced a new burger joint opening this week: Ray’s Hell Burger. Hell Burger is in the same strip mall as Ray’s the Steaks in Arlington. Thanks to metrocurean for the heads up.  And now, back to your regularly scheduled review..

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Carol Bengle GilbertIf you have 15 minutes or so to kill waiting for your table at Ray’s The Classics, consider yourself lucky.  The Classics’ experience begins at the bar.  The decor of the place delivers on the name promise – black and white, spare, seats covered in faux ostrich skin and speakers that moan anthems from the Rat Pack – I feel like I’ve slipped into my own Mad Men episode. When we walk in, I long to order stiff drinks from the always friendly bar staff and trade sassy quips with strangers, All About Eve-style. (more…)