Thursday, May 13, 2010

Open Wide for Ray's Hellburger

I'm pretty sure you cannot get a fresher, heartier burger anywhere in the DC area. The problem is--unlike when the place opened last summer--everyone now knows this, thanks to two VIP visitors last summer. Seriously, I mean everyone. Tourists--previously unknown to this unremarkable strip on Wilson Boulevard--now stand in line with maps and guidebooks.

But you can still enjoy without the chaos if you go on a weeknight like we did recently. We arrived on a Monday around 7:30pm, and there were plenty of seats and only a line of about a half dozen people.

As you can see from the picture, the burgers are huge and require two hands, a knife and fork, and plenty of the paper towel roll provided on every table. The options are too numerous to mention, but you can choose from almost any type of cheese or unique and gratuitous toppings like foie gras and bone marrow. Prices vary by topping, but grilled onions, peppers, mushrooms, pickles, roasted garlic and a few other great additions are free.

Because the burgers are cooked to order and completely customizable, there is something for every meat lover. I have never been disappointed with the food; the line is another story.

And as for side items, despite the owner's early diatribe against both, French fries and floats are now available as sides. The fries are mediocre, but are available both in both plain and sweet potato varietals; I've never been so bold as to try the (on-tap) root beer float. Also more recently, Mark Slater has introduced a few bottled beers to the board. I am hopeful that Hellburger will bring back the watermelon and corn that accompanied the burgers, gratis, when the place opened last summer. These light seasonal accouterments were the perfect complement to the burger. Michael, if you ever read this post, please consider bringing these back, and pretty please cease putting tomatoes on any plates in the dead of winter.

The base burger without cheese starts at $6.95 and goes up from there. So go, but do avoid this place like the plague on weekend nights, especially once the hordes descend upon the area once summer is upon us.

Ray's Hell Burger Too on Urbanspoon

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