A burger that is a favorite of our President? I gotta’ try this.
Ray’s Hell burger is located within a small strip mall. They do not have a large sign, so you better know the address. If you need a landmark, look for the 7-11.
Enter, and you will join a long line. There is giant menu on the wall, and handout menus as well for you to decide your order by the time you get to the cashier. An employee is also available to help you decide as you are in the queue.
There are four basic kinds of burger (taken directly from their menu):
1. Grilled – Seasoned with Our Secret Steak Blend
2. Au Poivre – Seared with a Black Peppercorn Crust
3. Blackened – With Spicy Cajun Spice Blend
4. Diablo – Grilled with Our Spicy Chipotle Sauce
After choosing your burger type, there are a plethora of toppings. Just the variety of cheeses is a little dizzying, from American and Swiss to Mustard Seed Dutch Gouda to Aged Danish Bleu. Some of the more exotic toppings include Roasted Bone Marrow with Persillade and Seared Foie Gras with Truffle Oil. Of course, cost varies greatly depending on the topping.
Everyone has their own special preference in their burger. How will it be cooked? What sauce? What toppings? Personally, I like a bacon cheeseburger, cooked medium. It’s my “go-to”. I decided to go with Ray’s Grilled Burger ($6.99) with Vermont White Cheddar ($1.00) and Applewood Smoked Bacon ($1.50). As a twist I decided to get it topped with Ray’s Heck Sauce. The Heck Sauce is something like a Russian relish.
Ray’s burger is properly cooked. I asked for medium, I got medium. The burger itself is juicy and tasty but not very exciting. I believe the bun is a brioche. It soaks up the juices well and holds together nicely. The bacon was thick and tasty. The Heck Sauce was a bit of a disappointment. It’s tangy, but doesn’t really compliment the burger well. When I added some ketchup, the additional salt really helped the burger pop.
MG got a grilled topped with onions, pickles, bacon and cheese. She also enjoyed it, but it did not make her toes tingle. What was exceptional was the Sweet Potato Fries (large $3.00). They were crisp and delicious. The regular fries (small $1.75) were nothing to write home about.
If you make the trek to Ray’s Hell Burger, I would recommend piling on the toppings. Unlike many other burgers I’ve tried, the meat in this one plays very well with others. Go for the additional spices of the peppercorn crust and roasted garlic. Ray’s is definitely worth a detour. It is not too far from the downtown DC area. The vibe is completely casual and there is some parking available in the strip mall lot. Another branch is opening in the same strip that also serves wine and beer.
Ray’s Hell Burger
1725 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209