Best: Ray’s the Steaks
2300 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, (703) 841-729
2nd Best: Fogo de Chao
1101 Pennsylvania Ave NW, (202) 347-4668
Steakhouses, ugh. The very expense of prime aged beef tends to make these places exclusive playgrounds for people who wipe their noses with Benjamins, which is a shame really. Steaks—prime, choice, or otherwise—are not the sole property of the propertied class. Proles like grilled beef, too, which is why I find steakhouses so confounding with their singular desire to package themselves as clubby and/or classy establishments ready to primp, pamper, and pucker-up to every asshole who walks through the door. Some of us just want a good steak without the fuss—and the $200 Cab. Thank God (or Michael Landrum) for Ray’s the Steaks, the Arlington meat emporium that delivers the beef without the high costs or the conspicuous consumption. RTS’s new location may be a step closer to a traditional steakhouse, but it’s still worlds away from the major chains. I mean, have you ever seen a Jolly Roger flying at Morton’s or Bobby Van’s or the chef walking around in Coogi wear and neck bling? If I want to dine at a chain steakhouse, I’ll go the Brazilian route. Yeah, at $49.50 a head for dinner, Fogo de Chao is expensive. But for almost the same price as a New York strip at Charlie Palmer, you can get an endless parade of juicy, generously salted meats at Fogo (15 different kinds in all, including rib-eye, filet mignon, and even beef ribs, as well as non-cow meats), accompanied by countless trips to the salad bar, a gargantuan spread of meats, cheeses, and vegetables that are a meal all by themselves. Plus, all those gauchos in poofy pants are as close as you’re going to get to a Coogi-wearing chef at a corporate steakhouse.