Ray’s the Classics is the newest entry in white tablecloth dining in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. I could tell you a lot about this restaurant but wait-
AC must be really weary of its opinionated writers because it recently asked us to incorporate quotes from others who dined with us in our restaurant reviews. Humpf! Aren’t our opinions respected anymore? Never mind. AC wants me to tell you what my family members said about Ray’s the Classics, so I will.
My nine year old daughter: “I didn’t really like the mashed potatoes… because they caused my spill.”
See, if she hadn’t been reaching for those errant mashed potatoes, her iced tea wouldn’t have landed in her lap. With Cindy huddled in my sweater dripping tea, those mashed potatoes didn’t stand a chance at a thumbs-up rating.
The macaroni and cheese with four different cheeses was obscenely rich. The oldest and the youngest child said it was “great”; the middle child said, “It tastes funny,” and refused to eat a second bite.
The sugar packets on the table at Ray’s the Classics were immensely popular. We were about to file a police report, declaring our whole table’s worth stolen, when we spotted a stack of empty packets next to my son’s glass. Every single sugar packet in the tray went into that iced tea, and he said “it still isn’t sweet enough.” When we asked for more sugar so our daughters could sweeten their iced tea, we had to hold him back so the second tray didn’t disappear.
As you can now visualize, our family is immensely popular in white table cloth restaurants. We save them a lot of money they would otherwise spend hiring entertainment.
The bread at Ray’s the Classics was doughy dinner rolls, reminiscent of pull-apart bread, with olive oil for dipping. The kids were too busy scarfing it to tell us what they thought of it, but they did ask us to request more bread, twice. My husband did not care for the raw dough taste. Me? Oh yeah, I’m the silent diner.
My husband, meanwhile, raved about the attentive wait staff. This was his birthday dinner, and he had chosen the restaurant with a bit of trepidation after reading a review critical of the wait staff. Apparently, the management of Ray’s the Classics read the same review, because by the time we got there, the problem was fixed. Our waiter was both polite and attentive. When it came time to serve the candlelit birthday dessert, he stood by and sang Happy Birthday along with our family.
The service at Ray’s the Classics was reasonably prompt. Our server did neglect to bring one item we ordered, but was agreeable when we then chose to cancel it, realizing our table was full and soon we would be too.
Four of the five members of our family are vegetarians. Ray’s the Classics left us in a bind there. First, there is no children’s menu at all, so children can either eat side dishes and appetizers or full-price adult menu items. Second, even for adult vegetarians, there is but one entrée. That entrée contains the most frightening food substance known to childkind- eggplant! No way the kids were going to eat such a suspect item. This lone vegetarian entrée was called a “cheeseburger,” and consisted of eggplant, ricotta, spices and a bit of sauce sandwiched between two gigantic portabella caps. Dry portabella caps, but otherwise the dish was tasty… only to someone who dared eat it.
Rays the Classics serves complimentary sides of creamed spinach and mashed potatoes, family style. We’ve covered the mashed potatoes and their penchant for knocking over iced tea glasses. The adults and our most adventurous child coveted the delicately seasoned, not too creamy, creamed spinach; the other two wrinkled their noses and cocked an eyebrow at it.
With the Ray’s the Classics menu devoted primarily to steaks, chicken, chops, and fish entrees, my husband downed a two inch thick steak and proclaimed it wonderful. We shared an appetizer of blackened scallops with garlic. Moist and delicious, the silent reviewer interjects here, because my husband is about to criticize this appetizer. Not blackened enough, he says. I cringe at the thought of more blackening and the inevitable drying out of those plump, moist sea scallops.
With nothing vegetarian to choose from except macaroni and cheese, the kids ordered that and salads. My son chose the Ceasar’s salad, which was pretty plain but had outsize croutons. He was not impressed with its simplicity. My daughters meanwhile shared a mixed green salad. Noting that it was served with balsamic dressing, we ordered dressing on the side so as to maximize the odds that this salad would actually get eaten. The greens were fresh and attractive, the dressing thick and brown. I sighed with relief that the dressing was in its own little bowl where it wouldn’t be accused of tainting the greens. Yet, next thing I knew, the kids were using it as dip, and they actually liked it! Both salads were substantial in size, ideal for sharing.
The wine list is extensive at Ray’s the Classics. We drank a lot of it, whatever it was, and it was fine. Red, but beyond that, I’m sorry, my memory fails me here, because… well, anyway…. The dessert menu? Too tempting. Ray’s the Classics served two slices of key lime pie per order- tangy, maybe a tad too tangy, with graham cracker crumb crust and no adornment; and then we tried the coconut cake, with bountiful coconut flakes curling hither and yon; cheesecake, and chocolate cake. All worthy of acclaim. The servings were substantial; after the filling meal, we had to bring most of that dessert home. The coffee, however, was a disappointment. No specialty coffees, just plain old joe that tasted suspiciously like the instant variety.
Ray’s the Classics décor is as simple and classic as the food. The overall look of Ray’s the Classics is black and white with glassware on shelves along the wall. The diners look out plate glass windows onto a busy main artery. Valet parking is available, which is important since Ray’s the Classics has no lot and no on-street parking out front. Ray’s the Classics accepts all major credit cards and encourages reservations.
Ray’s the Classics is located at: 8606 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring, MD, 20910, Telephone 301-588-7297.