Arlington, VA 22209
As you can tell from my weekend in North Cackalackey, I've been eating pretty good and unfortunately, pretty heavy. So, for today at lunch, I was thinking that I want something healthy to eat. (Eyes on the post, please. I see you suspiciously looking up at the title of the post). I looked around to see what was close and decided that Ray's Hell Burger was the place to go for some healthy goodness. Okay, okay, so I didn't find any of the healthier options appealing today so I made a beeline for perhaps (you'll see later) the most unhealthy option of all. Don't judge.
The other thing you notice besides the crowd is that it really is a no frills type of place. I mean you hear about restaurants being no frills all the time but sometimes that's just code for trying to be hip. Ray's has plastic patio chairs, cafeteria tables and paper signs. Heck, the front signage is like a tarp with Ray's Hell Burger on it. To me, this kind of approach is great if the food speaks for itself and I was about to find out if the burger lived up to the hype.
The menu gives you about 8 different choices for burgers or you can make your own. They had all the usual suspects from a bacon, swiss cheese, and mushroom burger to peppercorn crust burger with blue cheese, mushrooms, and grilled onions. You can order either a big devil (10 oz) or a little devil (1/3 of a pound). I grew up metric but intuitively I went with the little devil size because I wanted a smaller burger. I also felt like I wanted something different so I chose the Dogcatcher Burger. What's that you say....
Um, did I just say bone marrow. Yes, I really did have good intentions about eating healthy earlier today.
F*ck yeah I did. I expected the bone marrow to come already on top of the burger which had me perplexed since I couldn't figure out how it could come already garnishing the burger without it dissolving. Au contraire mon frere. They serve you the burger with just cheese and a toasted bun and then right beside it on a plate is a big ass piece of bone marrow still in bone sprinkled with seasoning and still glistening. They had the lettuce and tomato on the side too but I didn't even glance at them and scooped out almost all the bone marrow and plopped it on the burger. And by "almost all" I mean I ate a huge chunk of just bone marrow goodness all by itself. The burger was rich on rich. The bone marrow was roasted just enough for the fat to render and the juices to start oozing. The burger was cooked just right to medium rare and the meat was flavorful and juicy with nice seasoning. If I had one thing to nit pick, it's that I found myself wanting the bun to be more toasted. But, that's a small nit.
I feel a little guilty about writing a post about Ray's Hell Burger after just one visit and I thought about going back to try one of their more traditional burgers but my expanding waistline and heart told me that one visit is enough for now and I won't be going back this week for sure. I can tell you though that the burger itself was well cooked, juicy and delicious and I can see why the joint is so popular. The bone marrow was ridiculously over the top for a burger but was also ridiculously good. For some reason, I thought I'd be disappointed about all the hype. It turns out that you probably can't hype it enough.