This week, Ray’s the Steaks announced it will close June 15.
In an area long defined by corporate account-funded steak dinners, Ray’s was an exception. There was no pomp, no airs. Mashed potatoes and creamed spinach came gratis, and for doggy bags, they’d drop in a full order to-go.
It was the unadorned steak that called out to lovers of well-aged meats. It was always about the food there, the dedication to what’s on the plate from owner Michael Landrum.
Oh, and those steak tartare deviled eggs (pictured above)!
For me, I remember the place as a turning point in my dinners with my daughter, who was then two. We’ve since gone on many dates for my job, as she slurps seaweed salad and takes giant bites of tuna sashimi. But it was at Ray’s where we first had a “grown-up” meal, just the two of us. Here’s my story of Ray’s of the Steak from 2017.
It’s not easy being a mother and a restaurant critic. No working parent has it easy, but most moms’ job descriptions don’t require them to work at an office by day and work-while-eating at a restaurant by night. A lot of meals include my 2-year-old daughter, who is an excellent eater, but is still a 2-year-old who would rather stay at the playground after day care, instead of being strapped into a car seat and and then strapped into a highchair for a multi-course meal. Most meals also include my husband, who takes her for walks between the stages of dinner (ordering, bread service, appetizer, entree, dessert and check). But my husband also works full time and sometimes can’t leave his own job to accompany me on mine. Those nights I either don’t go out to eat, find a friend or wait until he comes home where we tag-team parent and as soon as he’s there, I leave.
Rarely, I brave a work meal with just my daughter and me. When it’s 50 Best season, I don’t have a choice, and so my toddler and I went on a date to a steakhouse. Ray’s the Steaks is always good, though it’s so unassuming it can take a bad steak at another restaurant to remind me of its expertise.
This night at Ray’s went swimmingly. My daughter behaved so well I didn’t even need to take her on course-break walks. She was entertained by the snacks, bread, shrimp, steak, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach and chocolate mousse topped with whipped cream. The food kept coming, and was so good, it was easy to forget to be antsy.
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