I’m a lucky guy that has nice friends. In this particular example I was the beneficiary of a work-gift to Kelly for a meal at Equinox – an upscale American restaurant serving downtown DC’s working professionals (i.e. not a place most 20 somethings hang out). The restaurant is relatively small but there is a side/private room that can add a bunch of seats if not booked. The décor is elegant and clean, and the menu reflects this desire with expensive pastas (~$30 each), “meat and game”, seafood choices and sides. There is also an extensive wine list to pair perfectly with your duck, yellow fin tuna or saffron papparadelle angus beef Bolognese.
Since we were in a celebratory mood (free food does that) we ordered a healthy amount: truffle risotto fritters, salmon, beef strip loin, fried green tomatoes and truffled macaroni and cheese. They also serve a small amuse bouche of tuna pate that was actually quite interesting. We were also expecting the risotto fritters as an appetizer but something went wrong and they brought us the mac and cheese instead. We didn’t really to eat that first but it was strange and our server noticed shortly after it came out as a mistake. No harm no foul. It’s deliciously rich and after we finished the entire side, realized we might not have as much room for the rest of the meal as intended. I’m not that upset though since it might have been the best thing I tasted all night.
The main courses of salmon and beef with sides of fried green tomatoes and fritters (and not mac) were all fine with my favorite likely the bbq salmon and interesting (forgot) sides. The fried tomatoes disappointed as the fried crisp fell off too easily without much else to write home about. The risotto fritters were very rich and creamy (as one would expect) and not likely the best “side” to eat near the end of the meal. It also didn’t have the same appeal as I would expect from a dish with so much potential (who doesn’t like risotto, and add some fried ball aspect to boot?). I remember liking the beef but I ate it later and don’t remember anything particularly wonderful or horrible. I guess that’s good.
Because of the previously mentioned goof of appetizer, they brought us a nice after dinner treat of shaved ice watermelon with two glasses of bubbles. Not too bad and a nice token recognition of a goof in service, and otherwise there were no issues. Equinox is an expensive restaurant that feels like most of that money goes toward décor and appearance and not the quality of the food (i.e. not great value). I find it hard to believe $30 pasta is worth it, and over $30 entrees means you’re in a category competing with the very best. We had a nice time but the food was fine, not great or amazing. There’s plenty of business traffic in the area to keep the doors open I imagine but it’s not somewhere I’d recommend to spend serious amounts of hard earned money.