March 18th, 2010



Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. Please leave any comments there.

OK, the Big Ugly Man Doll does not, as a rule, do food reviews for things I didn’t actually cook myself, but we’re making an exception today. If you like meat and you do not live within about 90 minutes drive of the Washington DC metro area, you might want to skip this post and read the last one, which is a good bit and has Number One Son in it.

Because SOBUMD just took me to Ray’s Hell Burger, on Wilson Blvd in Arlington. And yes. Oh, hell yes.

Several years ago, there was a great quote from Car and Driver talking about the then-new VW Touareg. The upshot of the article was hey, this is a nice car, don’t get me wrong, but “to what question is the answer, ‘a $65,000 Volkswagen?’” I’ve since seen the Touareg, and I still don’t have a question to go with that answer.

In the same light, a person might well hear of a place that sells slabs of ground meat on a bun, and wonder to what question is the answer, “a $17 hamburger?”

I can answer that one. The question is, what should you splurge on, once a year, because it’s your birthday, when you’re at Ray’s Hell Burger? You should order “The Burger of Seville,” which lacks only Bugs Bunny on the piano. It’s a massive 10-ounce meal built with freshly ground, hand-trimmed beef. They then pack on foie gras, bordelaise sauce, awe-inspiring mushrooms, and – I’m not even making this up – white truffle oil, on a toasted brioche bun. The guys behind the counter had the cojones to ask if I wanted any side orders. These people are trying to kill me – I think they get kickbacks from the EMTs.

NOTE: Anyone prone to heart disease would do well to recall the subtitle of Rossini’s original Barber of Seville: “The Useless Precaution.” This burger comes with no precautions. Your taste buds will be under full-on frontal attack. They will surrender faster than the French army. And you will love it.

The day being clear and the sky being bright, we ate outside. SOBUMD had a delicious if more classic (read: cheaper) burger, done au poivre with fried onions and Swiss cheese; both were perfectly cooked to order, medium rare. Both dripped juices and grease down our arms as we enjoyed the day, the sun, and the meat.

The bad news is that I finished all of mine, scraped up the stray mushrooms from my plate, then polished off the little bite that SOBUMD was too full to finish. The GOOD news is that the people sitting next to us were Greenpeace activists in town for a lobbying convention, and they were able to mobilize a rescue team to roll me back into the surf. I’ll be fine.

Until next year.