Michael Landrum, father of the Ray's the Steaks and Ray's Hell Burger empire, is a guy that does what he wants. He was famous for not having websites for his restaurants (now he does) and not taking credit cards (now he does in some locations, thank you!). Mr. Landrum's "do what I want" outlook is perhaps nowhere more apparent than this little spot in the strip mall on Wilson Avenue in Arlington.
according to Landrum). Then Landrum closed Steak and Cheese a month later and went back to the "Hell Burger Too" concept. In May, Landrum opened "Nice 'N' Greasy Steak 'N' Cheesy" in the space but also kept the Hell Burger menu items. Confused? Us too. We never know quite what we're going to get when we walk into this place and that's what's fun about it.
B ordered the Spicy-As-Hell Chicken Sandwich (chicken breast marinated in Ray's famous blend of burning hot spices with pepper jack cheese, charred jalapenos, hell fire mayo, lettuce and tomato on a potato roll). It was indeed spicy as hell. I took one bite and instantly had tears streaming down my face. Beyond smacking us in the face with spice, it was a good chicken sandwich, but still a chicken sandwich. The onion fries were as delicious as they look.
Lyon Bakery sub roll. Because this wasn't coronary-inducing enough, I added charred jalapenos ($0.50 extra) and "groove grease." Groove grease is a secret concoction of yumminess that defies proper description. It's greasy, groovy, a little spicy, and I really don't think I want to know how many calories it has.
Second Thoughts from B
You win some and you lose some. While I clearly won by ordering the onion fries (more on these in a second), I lost the sandwich battle to J. Unlike my beloved New Jack Zing at Ray's Hell Burger that uses heat to balance out the creamy, salty, and savory elements in the sandwich, the Spicy-As-Hell Chicken Sandwich was spicy layered upon spicy. It felt more like a dare than a meal. And since I'm not an aspiring Fear Factor contestant, all I did was slurp down gallons of water and covet J's plate.
Back to the onion fries though. Putting a gourmet twist on common foods is not a new idea. However, the common foods tend to be tired, if not dreadful, foods that inspired childhood nightmares. Chefs like to embrace the challenge of making mouth watering versions of things that you'd otherwise stay away from. On the other hand, Nice 'n' Greasy Steak 'n' Cheesy took a guilty pleasure - Outback Steakhouse's Bloomin Onion - and made it better. How? No clue. Like you, my dear reader, I thought the Bloomin Onion was not to be tampered with. Sent from the Almighty as a gift to us mere mortals who craved a bit of joy in our otherwise drab existence. To elevate fried and greasy perfection is simply divine. Now if there was just an anti-coronary option...