Visit any local food blog or food board and you will find something written about the newly opened Ray’s Hell-Burgers. The chatter is nonstop; in the foodie world the opening is akin to Angelina Jolie’s recent birth: first we want facts, then we want photos, then, bored with all that, we want gossipy tid-bits that have nothing to do with the headline (in Angelina’s case the birth of her twins and in Ray’s case the actual taste of the food at his burger joint). After a few weeks of reading chowhound boards and Don Rockwell, I got it together and headed for Ray’s, which is located in a small, easy to miss strip mall on Wilson Boulevard in Arlington.
Since I had read so much about what to order, I came with a game plan and tried my best to help my boyfriend and his brother decipher the menu. I knew this was the type of place you could end up at the register and when they asked, “what can I get you?” an immediate sense of confusion and pressure would leave you looking like a hungry deer caught by headlights.
I ordered my 10-ounce burger seasoned “Diablo” with Vermont Cheddar and grilled red onions. The burger came with corn on the cob and a slice of watermelon. A mug of delicious root beer washed it all down.
The burger was tasty. The meat wasn’t greasy and the huge patty was matched with the right amount of cheese. I ordered the burger cooked "recommended" and it was just right: warm and red in the center. It could have used a touch more seasoning or maybe the hell sauce for a little more flavor. The burger came with the new bun (apparently the old ones were falling apart) and it was good, but a little too big, maybe? The watermelon and corn were a welcome substitute to french fries. If I had fries, I would have had to lie down on the floor and wait for a crane to bring me home.
Ray’s would benefit from two improvements: frosted mugs for the root beer and air conditioning. Otherwise, the price is right ($7.95) and the food is tasty.