Note: This restaurant is now The Classics and no longer offers Ray’s Hell Burger.
WARNING: If you do not like burgers, you may want to skip this blog post. This will be an unabashed gush-fest regarding the burger I ate at Ray’s the Classics in Silver Spring last week
I have been hearing about Ray’s Hell Burger for some time. It gained notoriety when President Obama ate there last June. I don’t get out to Arlington too often, but I was considering taking a road trip just for the burger.
Then I remembered hearing that the Hell Burger was available at the bistro side of Ray’s the Classics in Silver Spring. My current kitchen renovation gives me a great excuse to eat out even more often than usual, so I grab a friend on a wintry evening weeknight and head to Ray’s.
It takes me no time at all to choose my Hell Burger: “diablo-grilled and brushed with spicy chipotle marinade.” I add the Vermont cheddar cheese, because it seems like I should. The sweet potato fries seem like a healthier alternative to regular fries. Right.
Here’s what I love about this burger: the char-broiled taste is so outstanding that the memory of it lingers for days. I order my burger medium rare and it arrives the perfect shade of pink in the center. The chipotle marinade gives it a bite, but it is not overpowering. What more can I say? My friend describes the burger as “sexy.” Perhaps.
The toasted brioche miraculously remains firm, despite the cheese and the marinade. I devour every last bite of my burger and for once I don’t regret doing so. Then comes our server with two demitasse cups of hot chocolate, on the house. He had me at the burger, but I fall in love even more because who can resist an unexpected gift? Certainly not me. The hot chocolate is smooth and not too sweet. Heavenly.
It’s only a burger and fries in a casual bistro attached to a steakhouse in the middle of downtown Silver Spring. But sometimes it doesn’t need to be anything more than that to be great.
Ray’s the Classics, 8606 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring
My rating (on a 1-5 scale): 4.5
Zagat Rating: 24 (Ray’s Hell Burger in Arlington, 26)
*Ray’s has a portobello burger as an FYI for my non-meat eating readers.