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Michael Landrum‘s pioneering Ward 7 restaurant Ray’s the Steaks at East River (ranked No. 39 on City Paper‘s list of D.C.’s 44 Most Powerful Restaurants for demonstrating that a nice sit-down restaurant could survive in that under-served part of town) reopened over the weekend after a few months of retooling.
“Our goal is to provide an even more welcoming and versatile gathering place with more options for day-to-day dining,” Landrum tells Y&H.
Back in November, the eccentric restaurateur insisted that, despite speculation to the contrary, his abruptly shuttered Dix Street NE location would be back in business in January. He also said the reinvigorated eatery “will be the culmination of what we’ve learned in opening Ray’s to the Third,” referring to his Arlington eatery focused on steak frites. And, sure enough, Landrum’s new menu in Northeast D.C. offers up four varieties of steak frites, as well as a steak and cheese sandwich, which had been the focus of another one of Landrum’s recent, if short lived, Arlington concepts.
To hear him tell it now, a lot of the recent tinkering at his Arlington locations was done with the D.C. eatery in mind:
“Much, if not all, of what we have tried out and developed in Arlington recently (much to the annoyance of our neighbors there and providing much fodder to question my mental faculties) has been specifically intended as a proving ground for the East River re-formating and to allow an intensive practicum for our team to grow and expand their skills, experience and horizons. The timing allowed a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve these goals together.”
As for the decor of the reformatted eatery, Landrum has made a few noticeable adjustments:
“There is a wood and glass divider between the dining room and the bar are so that the new TV at the bar won’t intrude into the dining area. In the dining room, the carpet has been replaced with hardwood for a more inviting feel and look.”
Ray’s the Steaks at East River, 3905 Dix Street, NE, (202) 396-7297