Situated on Farragut Square in the Downtown corridor, Equinox is unassuming on the outside. With a glassed-in atrium, it looks like it was once a lunch eatery or an after-work bar spot that has been transformed, to the best of an interior decorator’s ability, to an upscale dining room. After having a wonderful time at Equinox in the fall, partaking in the fall happy hour, I was dying to try Equinox for a full meal, and Valentine’s Day was the perfect excuse.
We were sat, and the meal started out with bread. I love bread – it has the potential to set the tone for the entire meal. Bread can be a warm welcome, a fabulous place for a meal to start, and unfortunately Equinox’s bread fell flat. Well, not the bread so much as the hummus that came with it. I’m a big fan of interesting spreads (hello, honey butter, yogurt dill cheese or herb butter) and so I was excited to try the hummus that came with a pastry puff bread and some sort of fruit and herb bread slices. It was bland. It was mostly tasteless, with sort of a weird aftertaste. I tried it with or without the bread, and have to say, that hummus was a mistake for the chef to send out. I could have gotten better hummus at Trader Joe’s. But luckily, the hummus was the worst part of the entire meal, and everything just got better from there. After the starting low, with the amuse bouche thrilled me. The amuse bouche paired a creamy, savory butternut squash soup with a crispy spinach and walnut spring roll slice. I kept telling Matt I wanted the soup in a trough, and I would have just stuck my face in it and left happy. The squash soup is the part of the meal I will have food dreams about from now on.
Next up came the appetizer, a prawn and endive salad with pistachios. Yum. The prawns were excellent, the citrus tangy dressing was perfect for the salad. I was a happy camper, forgetting the horrible hummus start.
Next up was the striploin, served with a potato cake, and sauteed spinach. The potatoes were WONDERFUL, my big complaint was that there weren’t enough. I had to ration them out. The striploin was served with a balsamic drizzle, except I could tell that my plate had set under the heat lamp too long, and the drizzle had seared itself to the plate, so it was hard to pick up with the meat. The spinach was fresh, not too greasy, with a bit of garlic.
The cheese course was fun, and I enjoyed five out of the six cheeses. I loved the Firefly Black and Blue Cheese from Maryland, an incredibly strong blue cheese. It was perfect with the red wine fig chutney Chef Gray served up with the course. I also loved the Lionza cheese from Sonoma, a sharp Parmesan-Romano type dry cheese.
And to end the meal, I decided to go with the lighter of the dessert choices, the trio of ice cream. I was served coffee, lavendar and chocolate, in that order. The lavendar tasted exactly as it smells, an unexpected sweet.
All in all, a great meal. Matt called it one of his favorites of all time in DC, and I would have to agree. It’s the perfect place for a night out – even Obama thinks so, since he took Michelle there for her birthday!
Equinox is located at 818 Connecticut Ave. NW. Closest Metro stop: Farragut West. For more information, call (202) 331-8118.