Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Mar 4, 2008 04:45 PM

The Updated Equinox

Has anyone been to the "new and improved" Equinox since it got its face lift and has reopened?

This is one of my all time favorite restaurants in DC. Unfortunatly I have far from the pocketbook to be able to enjoy it more often...only special occasions. But I'm always curious what's going on with their menu etc. Todd Gray is amazing in my book. Just wondering about the new decor etc.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. We went a few weeks ago and the space is lovely. The only complaint I had about the decor is that a large flower arrangement was behind us and the strong smell from the flowers caused us to do musical chairs as it was making it hard to enjoy our wine and food. I typically would not complain about this type of thing, but these flowers were very strong. I was a bit surprised that they would have something like this as odors from candles and flowers are typically a restaurant no-no.

    The food was good with a few hits and some big misses. The silky egg noodles with osso bucco and bone marrow jus was good, but the fact that the osso bucco had to be cut with a knife was a big miss for me. I was expecting tender pieces. The Gnocchi, crab cake and fried oysters were very good. All and all I would say the food was good, but nothing was just hitting it out of the park and for those prices I would expect it to be better. I know it has the potential because some of the dishes could have been great with a bit of tweeking. I can go to Palena for less money and be blown away, so they either need to up their game or lower their prices.

    One other peeve of mine was exhibited in the wine service. I ordered a 2004 Napa cab and was presented with a 2005. When I asked for the 2004 they got it. I don't know if the server just did not know or if they are trying to pass off the 2005 to customers who do not know the difference. I personally hate when one vintage is listed on the menu and they bring out another without acknowledging that it is different and if there is a price difference. Otherwise the service was top notch.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Annapolis07

      I'm also surprised about the flowers. I don't remember that from the old restaurant--and I'm sure I would have noticed since I'm very sensitive allergy-wise to strong smelling flowers. The damn lillies in Nancy Pelosi's office nearly send me into an allergy coma every time I go in there for a meeting.

      I'm also a bit surprised by the wine service issue. I'm not a wine expert by any stretch of the imagination but that move (which I know is more common then one would expect) is particularly annoying. Especially because often certain vintages is significantly more money. I would have expected a place like Equinox to acknowledge this, especially when you corrected them. Hopefully it was just an accident and them not trying to pull a fast one on you.

    2. Does Equinox do tasting menus or is all a la carte?

      1 Reply
      1. re: MDoodle

        Both if I remember correctly. And I also feel like there is a pre-fix menu (maybe this is in place of a la carte...I would double check) with multiple course choices (and choices in each category.)

      2. We went to Equinox on Saturday night to celebrate the bf’s birthday. Our reservations were for 7:45 and the place was about half full; I expected it to be packed to the brim. Nice atmosphere, sat us by the neat modern fireplace. I decided to do a 3-course with wine pairings; the bf went for 4 courses with wine pairings. While we waited, we both ordered a glass of Chard and the chef’s amuse bouche arrived. It was a shot of a butternut squash soup and a small cracker with salmon and some other things on it. Both delicious. The server and I discussed the timing of the courses since I had one less course than the bf, so we planned in advance how we preferred them to arrive.

        We both started with the crabcake appetizer – wow, this was by far the best thing we ate all night and easily one of the best crabcakes I’ve ever had. It came with some sautéed spinach (why can’t I get my spinach at home to taste that way?) and stone ground cornmeal/polenta, with a few whimsical pieces of popcorn on top. After that course, I was taking a break while the bf waited for his pasta course. There was a very very long lag in between those 2 courses (felt like about 30 minutes). When it arrived, the server also forgot to bring another full-sized fork, so the bf had to eat his veal ravioli with a salad fork. Minor, but a bit annoying. He enjoyed this dish but thought all of the accoutrements (it looked like lots of lentils to me) were overpowering. Excellent sauce, though.

        Next, we both did the fish course paired with a very good Pinot Noir. I had the salmon, he had the halibut. The salmon was tasty, but nothing revelatory. The halibut was better, but after a few bites bf said it tasted salty to him. I took a break from my meal again, and the bf got some type of meat dish for his 4th course, it was some type of pork rib meat (I can’t remember), he thought it was good, but salty as well. I strongly disliked both the texture and flavor. Both the halibut and the rib meat were served on the same exact bed of a watery mashed potato-like substance with similar vegetables within it. Not bad or good, just something we noted.

        For dessert, I had the chocolate lava cake with salt with praline ice cream. I really enjoy the salty-sweet combo, but this just had too much salt. It was overpowering, and I found myself wanting to scrape it off. The rest of the dessert though, was heavenly; I only wished it was bigger!

        After the meal, wine, tax & tip, it came to $280. They gave my bf a tiny box of 2 pieces of candy as his birthday gift, which I suppose was a nice gesture but they were both pretty standard. I had assumed they would bring him dessert (when the bf went to the restroom, the server stopped over to confirm that we were in fact celebrating his birthday). I suppose for that kind of money I was expecting something a bit more special, but oh well. The meal was longer than expected as well and service a tiny bit spotty at times. Also tried to charge me for 4 courses when I had 3; I think that I ended up confusing him with the timing. All in all, a pretty good experience, but overpriced.

        6 Replies
        1. re: MDoodle

          Wow, that's a shame. i would suggest an oldie but a goodie for your next celebration, 1789. Good old fashioned exceptional food & service in a historic bldg where everyone is dressed up. And it really isn't all that spendy (you could go big with the right wine though...) i think people just forget about it in all the hype of new places.

          1. re: DCDOLL

            I'm thinking of persuading the bf to take me to Obelisk for my bday in May, I think you'll agree we may have more success with that one!

            1. re: MDoodle

              You can't go wrong with Obelisk. It's one of the best in DC.

              1. re: MDoodle

                oh fave!!! But it isn't "fussy or fancy". It's very low key but OMG the food....

            2. re: MDoodle

              Yep, I agree. Pretty good, but not worth the price.

              1. re: Annapolis07

                I third that sentiment--we enjoyed our meal there last fall but thought it was overpriced for what you get. The only stand-out item was a pasta with fresh truffles on it--at a $30 markup on top of the 4 course prix fixe.