Ray’s The Steaks, Courthouse, VA

Well, so much for ending the year with honor.

I nabbed a chance to have New Year’s Eve dinner with my favorite young dining companion, but was caught without a reservation, so I went ahead and called in a chit.

It is rare when I announce that I’m coming to a restaurant, but everyplace in town was booked, and we wanted meat, meat, meat.

“Michael, can we get a table at 6:30?”

Hell, yes, I took it.

But what I wasn’t expecting was the armada of appetizers that arrived on the table, the highlights this particular evening being the shrimp scampi, and scallops with bacon (“This is the best bacon I’ve ever had!” Matt said).

We split an Aged Porterhouse For Two ($43.50), and left stuffed because we finished every bite of food on the table except for the bread and nuts.

Ray’s is currently serving large pours of Spanish Tempranillo (2008 Radio Boca from Valencia) in proper stemware at the proper temperature for the ridiculously low price of $5, and I toasted you, Mark Slater, wishing you could have been there to pour it.

The bill came, and it was less than it should have been. I didn’t feel like fending off dishes when they’d arrived, and I didn’t feel like asking for another check, so I simply left a 120% tip, hopefully leaving a happy service team.

It’s ironic that despite Ray’s being anything but an officially designated “special-occasion restaurant” (they often serve upwards of 500 covers), I find myself there quite a bit for special occasions, and on this special occasion, for my final meal of 2010.

Happy New Year!

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