Sometimes you just have a great dining experience, from the food to the service to the ambiance and even your own mood while enjoying it. Our recent visit to Ray's the Classics in the Bistro portion of the restaurant was one of those nights. Our waiter was a gem, absolutely loved him. Friendly and helpful, but not intrusive in any way. The kind that just shows up magically right after you realize you want or need them, but doesn't interrupt the conversation or hover needlessly.
When you order your beverages, they bring out some pieces of herbed bread and some spiced cashews. I'd buy the cashews, they're a similar to the ones served at Nando's Peri-Peri and I bet they'd be perfect with a cocktail. The next time we come back I'll have to order one and find out. The bread was good, but after what followed didn't stay in my memory enough for me to describe it further.
I ordered the Bistro special with the Crab Bisque and the Hanger Steak and decided to add the Brandy Mushroom Cream Sauce to my steak. The Crab Bisque was everything you hope it will be and it usually isn't. The Soup itself was so good I honestly didn't care if there was any actual pieces of crab in it, and yet there they were at the bottom, lovely big pieces of real lump crab meat, not little bits and shreds. I wasn't sure about ordering the Hanger Steak my preferred Rare, I'd never had a real Hanger steak but I knew it comes with a bit more chew for which you're rewarded with a bit more flavor. A quick consult with our waiter convinced me it would be just fine rare, so I went with it. He did ask if I wanted sauces, but didn't try to do a hard sell. I had already decided I wanted the Brandy Mushroom Cream sauce and I was happy to find when the bill arrived it was only $1 extra. My steak came out gorgeous looking, exactly rare as ordered, and was perfect. The cream sauce didn't cover up the flavor of the steak but added a nice touch to it. In fact if they served that sauce in a bowl I'd order it, I was a little disappointed I couldn't lick my plate. I loved the texture of the Hanger steak, it reminded me a little of the crunchy black asian mushrooms I adore that are the only reason I ever order mu shu anything. I don't know how to quite describe it, but you get a nice chew and then it gives way to a soft meatiness with some resiliance that is very pleasant. You don't feel like you're getting a workout for the jaw or anything, but there's a sense of substance to it all.
Hubby went for the Diablo Strip with the spicy garlic sauce in a Medium Rare. He ate more of it then I thought he was going to manage and was whining he couldn't finish the rest. Of course the reason he couldn't finish it all was he kept taking more and more of the creamed spinach and mashed potatoes that were complimentary with the steaks in the Bistro. They were both quite good, at first we thought the creamed spinach was a bit less assertively flavored then it sometimes can be but after awhile we realized it was a perfect supporting role to the steaks and was letting them shine. Lets face it, if your favourite part of a steak dinner is the creamed spinach (and this has happened to me) then something was wrong with the steaks, or at least not as right as it could be. Since I typically leave some of my starches behind to eat more steak etc I finished up hubby's Diablo Strip for him. I also liked it, I think I preferred mine slightly but it would somewhat depend on the mood I was in that night and if I wanted spicy or creamy. Needless to say none went to waste, as did any of the creamed spinach or the mashed potatoes including the refill of potatoes they offered us and hubby accepted.
They had a couple of desserts on offer, and I found myself a bit torn between them. Had they been in season I doubt anything could have been better then the strawberries with whipped cream but alas it was November and I know better. Key Lime Tart looked to be correctly made but ultimately we went with the Dark Chocolate Mousse. I'd seen one go buy and knew it was real Mousse and not fancified pudding with a name change. When I ordered it Hubby asked if I wanted to share or should he order his own. Our waiter didn't even try to stifle his chuckles when I replied that WOULD share, but he should feel free to order one for himself. He gave Hubby a bit of a gentle elbow and told him he thought the Lady had made her preference known and he'd make that 2 Dark Chocolate Mousses. It turned out to be the correct choice, since neither of us would have been happy with half. It was as advertised Dark Chocolate, gently sweetened, with real whipped cream on top and a slice of strawberry. And like everything else we ate that night I probably have had a slightly better version somewhere once, but when you combined it with everything else the consistent level of high quality throughout the meal made for a top dining experience.
When the bill arrived and came with two pieces of house made candy all Hubby and I could do was look at each other and start quoting the Monty Python line about "just a little wafer". There was no explosion but we did waddle slowly back to our car completely satisfied with everything.
We can't wait to come back to Ray's and eat there again, our only problem will be do we try all the other things on the menu that looked good to us, or decide not to mess with perfection and just order the same thing again. I have to say if it wasn't cold weather the salad with blue cheese and radishes sounded amazing, a nice twist on the classic.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.