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CityZen, Equinox or Corduroy?

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We are traveling to DC for a birthday weekend. Looking for a special dinner spot for Saturday night. We are Brooklyn style farm-to-table fans, meeting up with 2 family members. One of them is a vegetarian, the other is a fine dining, French food guy.

It seems that CityZen, Equinox and Corduroy could accommodate all those variables. Any recos among them? I want serious food and wine, special occasion, but not stuffy for the sake of stuffy. All opinions would be appreciated, thanks. Money not a deciding factor, nor is location.

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  1. I would go with Equinox. The food there is unbelievable! Plus they change their menu with the seasons and what local produce are available. As much as I like Corduroy, it doesn't look like they have changed their menu in more than 5 years (I've never been to CityZen). Chef Gray practically invented high-end Mid-Atlantic seasonal cuisine.

    As for the vegetarian, Equinox offers a vegetarian-friendly tasting menu and usually had options, but maybe call ahead and just make sure there are options. They will be more than happy to work with you. Ellen Gray, the co-owner of the restaurant, is a vegetarian herself.

    1. I think you ought to throw Palena into the mix.

      1. Citizen, hands down. Equinox is solid, but five years past its prime. Corduroy is solid too, but not really for the special occasion it sounds like you have in mind. Only Cityzen is really an event.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mnadel

          Equinox has a new chef who was just named Best Chef in America by Food and Wine Magazine---not sure if I would consider that past it's prime.

          1. re: Elyssa

            1. Karen Nicholas was named one of the 10 best new chefs -- not the best chef in America -- http://www.foodandwine.com/best-new-c...
            2. These national magazine lists/awards has often as much to do about the quality of a restaurant's PR and reputation as anything to do with the quality of the restaurant. FWIW, I am much more inclined to believe local food critics than any national magazines.

        2. I haven't eaten at Equinox still (I know Elyssa, we keep doing special occasion dinners in other cities recently though). I would put CityZen above Corduroy, although the vibe inside is very formal and modern, not as light and bright as most farm to table places, but really good food.

          1. CityZen if you enjoy set menus, formal (but not stuffy) service and lovely desserts.
            Equinox if you enjoy seasonal food and a more intimate setting. The wine service at both is wonderful, but Equinox has a more intimate bar with a charming bartender. The bar at CityZen is lovely but more hotel-like.
            Haven't eaten at Courderoy.