DCFoodies.com Ray's Hell Burger: First Impressions - DCFoodies.com

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Jul 11, 2008



I'm surprised Jason was the only one to point out the glaringly sub-par bun. The actual burger itself is fantastic, as are the toppings and cheese selections, so it's a damn shame -- not to mention odd, given the attention to quality in other areas -- that the bun is so lackluster. Not only is it crumbly, but it's also flavorless. It's obviously an easy fix to find a bakery to make a good bun, so hopefully that will change soon.


Mike did point out the messiness, but he just didn't call out the bun specifically.

The DC Feed Editor

Excellent post! I have linked to this at The DC Feed.



Being a cheese lover myself, I wanted to know which cheese you recommend on the burger? From your post, it sounds like you got the Epoisses? How was it? I still have to go...on vacation right now, so it will be the first place I go when I get back!

Heidi C

I ate here on Thursday evening and I agree with Mike's review. Less is more. The burger's taste is AMAZING - char grilled, seasoned, juicy - and toppings just sort of overwhelm the already huge burger. My suggestion is to pick a tasty cheese and let that be your only topping. These things are delicious but HUGE and unweildy. Of course, if you really want cognac-sauteed mushrooms, I couldn't fault you.


I believe M. Landrum is taking the bun feedback to heart. He tried a brioche bun out on a Don Rockwell member this week, but she thought it too rich with the meat and cheese and all.


I'm no grilling expert, but I find that just brushing the bun with a combination of oil and butter and placing on the grill for a minutes browns it and makes it more resistant to the burgers juices.

I don't think the bun needs a lot of flavor, especially with all the good toppings.

Mike Bober

To be honest, I'd prefer less bun altogether...something like the thick sourdough slices you tend to find on patty melts, perhaps?

SB - Sadly, we didn't find out the Epoisses was available until a customer several people behind us in line thought to ask for it. Personally, I think the rich, pungent cheese would be a bit overpowering on these burgers (I don't even go in for blue cheese on burgers most of the time).

Because I knew I wanted to try the sauteed mushrooms, I made it a point to try the Gruyere. DELICIOUS. My wife tried the brie and, although she liked it, she didn't think it was a perfect fit.

I would recommend sticking with the kinds of cheeses you would normally use - cheddar, swiss, Muenster, jack, etc. - and bear in mind that Landrum is using high quality versions of each. As a result, you end up with tastes you can anticipate - only more so.

I'm leaning toward trying the smoked mozzarella next time - eager to see what the creaminess does to the overall combination.

Rob Rutledge

Actually, I meant to mention earlier -- I had absolutely no problem with the bun. It stayed plenty dry, in a good way. I think it might be because we split a single burger, not feeling up to 10oz each.


I love the group review idea. It's always interesting to compare people's experiences, as people always notice different things have have different tastes.

I originally found and kept reading this website because of the reviews of DC area restaurants. While the posts about wines and cheeses can be informative, this is what I like and find useful.


Can anyone tell me if they have highchairs here, and if it seems like it would be feasible to bring a 1 year old?


No they don't Susan.


I totally agree with the comments on the bun. What is up with that? It seems that others agree as well:




Perfect, literally everything about it, including the bun... And I am a french fry lover too, but the corn and watermelon work. Additionally, I am a ketchup junkie but my burger was so incredible that I declined, which is unheard of... Regarding the question about bringing children, you could easily do it as it is the perfect "decor" / noise level but we had a bit of a wait - but definitely doable if you can swing the wait and they may have a high chair, I don't know.

Got the Au Poivre, which was delightful.


The choices are fun-cheeses, toppings, etc.

Decor is simple and nice.

Great idea, but too much hype. The burger is just ok tasting.

We got the MACK and the Blackened with swiss,grilled onions and delicious mushrooms.


The "fat Joe" is a must try at Rays, it consists of foie gras pan seared with truffle oil on top of the burger with crispy fried shallots, probably a close tie with the burger at Polenas maybe even better,... It is the most expensive burger on the menu unless you ask to add a cheese but that is a little too daring for me


I live across the street and dine here about 10 times per month. For my money, the diablo style with mushrooms, smokey blue and peppers is unbeatable. I've tried many combinations, and this one just keeps delivering. I love mine med-rare, but of handling is a potential hazzard for the novice, medium still delivers. If you haven't been in a while, the mac 'n cheese is a MUST. Also, give the black cherry soda a try, or the creme brule cream soda.

Sounds Delish!

This sounds close to the new Colorado based SmashBurger. Of course its 'messy'! This is a REAL burger, grilled, with lots of good mustard plus other sauces, and I don't care what kind of bun you get with a GOOD JUICY burger, you are going to have a mess.
THIS is what we who grew up in the 50's remember from our favorite drive-in. With the car hops. A fresh-cooked burger, with lettuce, cheese, red onion, tomato, pickles. We put our own mustard or ketchup on back then...There was nothing in the world better than an old fashioned cheeseburger...and SmashBurger does theirs this way too...I do agree that a little toasting of the bun helps to firm it up...didn't your momma ever cook you a burger at home, and pop the buns under the broiler for a quick browning?

I won't eat a pink burger...I don't care who recommends it...a burger I want cooked...all the way through...a steak, medium...but with false teeth, steaks are kind of not on my menu anymore...LOL...can still eat one, but it could take me a couple of hours so they are never ordered out!
I would really like to try that Ray's Hell Burger. Sounds really good.
Ray, just toast the buns...or plop them on the grill along with the burgers...love that flavor the buns pick up that way too.


wow.... guess you're famous now..! Perhaps a First Burger ?


I love this place! be sure to pick up some tater tots or mac & cheese while you're there. Check out my review & and online menu at:



For heaven's sakes, Ray, why can't you remember the #%&*# CORN???? There were 5 of us and not one of us got a damned ear of corn. Get it together.

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