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Royale With Cheese

Much like Pulp Fiction was the high point of Samuel L. Jackson's career--you could argue for his part in the opening of Eddie Murphy's Raw, but let's be serious--a recent meal at Ray's the Classics in Silver Spring may have been the high point of my hamburger eating... career.
I can walk to Ray's, but I don't get there often because of, you know, money. Ray's is expensive, but not unreasonable--the restaurant offers a $24 three-course prix fix in the bar, and the steaks and chops are cheaper than at most steakhouses. I go every once in awhile--in the words of George Brett, I'm good twice a year for that. But the news that Ray's owner Michael Landrum would serve his "Butcher Burger," famous from his Arlington burger joint Ray's Hell Burger, nearly made me pull a George Brett. By which I mean I nearly tried to kill homeplate ump Tim McClelland.
For $8 (not much more than a Five Guys burger), Ray's the Classics patrons can get a truly excellent meat sandwich made from house-ground beef, cooked to order--Ray's will do rarer than medium--with several "options"--au poivre or "diablo" (with a chipotle sauce) among others. Sides are the same creamed spinach and mashed potatos Ray's serves in the dining room. Wash it down with a Silver-Spring-based (if not brewed) Hook and Ladder beer. Total cost for two, including tax and 20% tip, is about $35.
Landrum's Arlington customers get more of a burger joint ambiance and some different menu options, but they also get to wait in line and fight over tables. It's generally not hard to get a table in the bar at Ray's the Classics. The lounge itself doesn't have a lot of personality--I personally prefer the comfortable dank of nearby Quarry House--and no TVs, which follows the no frills theme of Ray's. A burger at Ray's is about the burger, just as a steak dinner at any of Landrum's restaurants is about the steak.
"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of mediocre $10 hamburgers. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak to awesome steakburgers and beer."

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