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An Early Look at Watershed—With Menus
The owners of Equinox are focusing on East Coast seafood at their new casual restaurant in DC's NoMa neighborhood. By Anna Spiegel
Chef Todd Gray, left, and one of his Watershed menu items: pan-roasted tilefish with oyster mushrooms, wax beans, and sherry-mustard butter. Photographs by Kyle Gustafson.
Comments () | Published April 22, 2011

>>For more photos of dishes and the interior, click here.

“No organic, no sustainable, no farm-to-table.” Is this really coming out of the mouth of Ellen Gray, half of the couple behind the season-obsessed Equinox in downtown DC? She’s talking about Watershed, the couple’s new casual, seafood-centric place in DC’s NoMa (North of Massachusetts Avenue) neighborhood. Then she clarifies: “Those words have become overused as a marketing tool. If you live it, you don’t need to label it.”

Since opening Equinox in downtown DC in 1999, the Grays have championed local, seasonal eating long before those were culinary buzzwords. Their environmental focus hasn’t changed in the transition from the white-tablecloth, fine-dining ethos of Equinox to Watershed. You’ll find sautéed Rappahannock oysters with celery-root mousseline in the dining room of Equinox, and the same Chesapeake bivalves come cornmeal-battered and stuffed into a baguette with tomato rémoulade on the back patio of Watershed.

The fare is what you might sample on a road trip from Florida to New England: hushpuppies and Carolina shrimp-and-grits with green onion butter in the South; rockfish-based Baltimore seafood chowder and Chesapeake crabcakes in the Mid-Atlantic; Montauk swordfish with peppercorn cream and chilled Wellfleet clams up north. The influence on the 63-seat dining room menu veers toward the Chesapeake—where chef Todd grew up—and farther south. The patio and raw bar are Miami-esque, with large umbrellas and white leather bar chairs; the menu there ventures beyond oyster platters with items such as quail-egg-topped steak tartare, thin slices of fluke with pickled watermelon rind, and papaya-jicama salad.

The opening of Watershed marks a major change for the Grays, who are used to serving power lunches and dinners in their roughly 100-seat Equinox dining room. Watershed’s location, inside the 125-room Hilton Garden Inn—which opens the same day as the restaurant—means their kitchen will turn out food for three meals a day, room service, and catering facilities. Eventually, the Grays are planning grill nights and oyster roasts on the patio.

Watershed (Hilton Garden Inn, 1225 First St., NE; 202-408-4870) is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Breakfast

Watershed buffet $15
Scrambled farm eggs, Applewood bacon, sweet Italian-sausage links, toast, mixed fruit, South Mountain yogurts, fresh juices, coffee, and teas

NoMa Continental $12
Fresh fruit, house-baked croissants, raisin Danishes, muffins, fresh juices, coffee, and teas

Assorted seasonal fruit  $7
Wild-flower honey yogurt

House-made almond-coconut granola $9
South Mountain yogurt and mixed berries

Bruléed banana and almond-butter crostini $8
Wild-flower honey yogurt

House-made granola $10
Rolled oats, Georgia pecans, dried cranberries, and toasted coconut

Byrd Mill mascarpone grits with choice of:
Mixed berries ($8), caramelized bananas ($9), red-eye sausage gravy ($10)

Thick-cut brioche French toast $12
Fresh berries, brown sugar, vanilla cream, and syrup

Buttermilk pancakes $11
Plain, blueberry, or chocolate chip with creamy butter and syrup

Fresh breads, bagels, and croissants $7

Watershed omelet $12
Three farm eggs with choice of ham, cheddar, tomatoes, roasted peppers, green onions, spinach

Egg-white omelet $12
Spinach, tomato fondue, Gruyere cheese

Three scrambled eggs $12
Surry sausage, green onions, parsley or wild mushrooms, Gruyere cheese, and sweet peppers

Pan-fried egg sandwich $10
Choice of smoked bacon, American cheese, heirloom tomatoes, and caramelized onion

Eggs Benedict
Canadian bacon and béarnaise ($14), smoked salmon, wilted spinach, and hollandaise ($15); blue crab, leek fondue, tomato, and hollandaise ($16)

Breakfast sides

Crisp Applewood Parma $5
Anson Mills grits $4
Sweet Italian sausage $5
Buttermilk biscuits $4
Rosemary-roasted potatoes $4
Potato "latke" $5

Lunch/Dinner
Items served only at lunch or dinner are marked

From the raw bar

Oyster selection (3, 6, or 12)
Served with black-sesame cocktail sauce and fresh lemon
Well Fleets, Massachusetts $2
Old Salts, Virginia $1.75
Rappahannocks, Virginia $2
Kuchis, British Columbia $2.50
Raspberry Points, Maine $2.25

Cocktail and raw
Served with black-sesame cocktail sauce and fresh lemon

Chilled blue crab $10
Chilled Carolina shrimp cocktail $8
Chilled Dungeness crab $10
Yellowfin tuna tartare with avocado and key lime $10
Ocean City fluke with lemon, olive oil, and pickled watermelon rind $9

Appetizers and soups

Pan-fried White Stone oysters $10
Tomato remoulade

Crispy Judith Point calamari  $8
Watershed aioli

Baked oysters $10
NoMa style with spinach, pancetta, Gruyere

Steamed PEI mussels $9
Tomato, garlic, white wine

Grilled sourdough crostini $8
Wild mushrooms, sweet garlic, and crispy onions

Baltimore seafood chowder $7
Rockfish, salt clams, and potatoes

Creamy blue-crab bisque $8
Crab meat, leeks, and sherry

East Coast seafood gumbo $8
Oysters, Surry sausage, and crayfish

Classic New England-style clam chowder $7
Celery and bacon

Greens and Entrée Salads

Iceberg wedge $8/$10
Crisp Applewoood bacon, blue-cheese cream, and oven-roasted tomatoes

Baby-spinach salad $8/$10
Roasted beets, goat-cheese toast, and mustard-seed vinaigrette

Smoked Carolina mountain trout $12 (dinner only)
Arugula, cucumber noodles, trout-roe vinaigrette

Classic Ceasar salad (lunch only)
Romaine hearts with creamy garlic dressing and grilled Carolina shrimp ($14), or grilled Amish chicken ($15)

Watershed chopped salad $14 (lunch only)
Endive, arugula, smoked oysters, hardboiled eggs, sourdough croutons

NoMa-style steak salad $17 (lunch only)
Butter lettuce, portobello mushrooms, crispy onions, and grilled flat iron steak

Todd's Favorite Sandwiches and Burgers

All sandwiches and burgers are served with paprika-spiced potato chips and red-cabbage coleslaw

Panfried catfish sandwich $12 /$14
Arugula, crispy pancetta, caper mayonnaise, ciabatta bread

Rappahannock River oyster sandwich $12/$14
Butter lettuce, shaved onion, tomato remoulade, artisan baguette

Grilled chicken pillared $12 (lunch only)
Gruyere cheese, house pickles, horseradish mustard, rosemary foccacia

Black Angus beef burger $14/$16
Tillamook cheddar, caramelized onions, garlic mayonnaise, poppy-seed bun

Carolina shrimp-and-scallop burger $15
Tomato fondue, Watershed aioli, poppy-seed bun

Open-face veggie black-bean-and-chickpea burger $12 (lunch only)
Artichoke tapenade, maple mustard, brioche bun

Regional Entrées

Carolina-style barbecued shrimp $17/$18
Creamy white grits, andouille sausage, green-onion butter

Pan-roasted Gulf Stream tilefish $16/$18
Oyster mushrooms, wax beans, sherry-mustard butter

Grilled Montauk swordfish $19 (dinner only)
Pearl onions, peppercorn cream sauce

Watershed crabcakes $19/$24
Shoestring potatoes, red-cabbage slaw, caper tartar sauce

Pulled-pork barbecue $16 (lunch only)
Served on crispy garlic toast with cole slaw and barbecue sauce

Slow cooked Southern-style pork ribs $22 (dinner only)
Warm napa-cabbage slaw and barbecue sauce

Pan-roasted chicken breast $14/$17  
Creamy mashed potatoes, black-pepper-and-chicken gravy

Grilled flank steak $15 (lunch only)
Roasted fingerling poatoes, crispy onion rings, house-made ketchup

Grilled ten-ounce Pride of the Planes New York Strip $27 (dinner only)
Wilted spinach, roasted potatoes, and red-pepper-and-garlic butter

Lunch/Dinner Sides

Cider-braised collard greens with Vidalia onions $5/$6
Honey-baked beans with ham hock $5/$6
Semolina hushpuppies $5/$6
Dirty rice with chicken livers and pecans $5/$6  
Southern-style kale with cider-braised onions $5/$6  
Paprika-spiced potato chips $5/$6
French fries with malt vinegar and Old Bay seasoning $5/$6
Red-cabbage coleslaw $5/$6  

Sweets

New York-style cheesecake baked in a jar $8
House-made graham cracker and strawberry compote

Baked rhubarb cobbler $8
Brown sugar, oats, and vanilla creme-fraiche ice cream

Praline-crunch sundae $8
Whipped cream, brandied cherries, pecan-pie crumble

Southern-style Key-lime pie $8
Sweet vanilla cream and coconut sorbet

Bittersweet-chocolate custard $9
Kentucky whisky anglaise, roasted-banana ice cream, shaved white chocolate

Warm double chocolate-chip cookies $7
Baked to order with a cold glass of local milk

Upside-down pineapple cake $9
Caribbean-rum caramel, cashew brittle, vanilla-bean ice cream

Lounge/Bar Menu

From the raw bar

Oyster selection (3, 6, or 12)
Served with black-sesame cocktail sauce and fresh lemon
Well Fleets, Massachusetts $2
Old Salts, Virginia $1.75
Rappahannocks, Virginia $2
Kuchis, British Columbia $2.50
Raspberry Points, Maine $2.25

Cocktail and raw
Served with black-sesame cocktail sauce and fresh lemon

Chilled blue crab $9
Chilled Carolina shrimp cocktail $7
Chilled Dungeness crab $8
Yellowfin tuna tartare with avocado and key lime $10
Ocean City fluke with lemon, olive oil, and pickled watermelon rind $9

Other bites

Pan-fried White Stone oysters $10
Tomato remoulade

Creamy blue-crab bisque $9
Crab meat, leeks, and sherry

East Coast seafood gumbo $9
Oysters, Surry sausage, and crayfish

Baked oysters $14
NoMa style with spinach, pancetta, Gruyere

Classic cesar salad $14
Romaine hearts with creamy garlic dressing and grilled Carolina shrimp

Rappahannock River oyster sandwich $12
Butter lettuce, shaved onion, tomato remoulade, artisan baguette

Black Angus beef burger $14
Tillamook cheddar, caramelized onions, garlic mayonnaise, poppy-seed bun

Semolina hush puppies $6
Paprika-spiced potato chips $6
French fries with malt vinegar and Old Bay seasoning $6

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Posted at 01:20 PM/ET, 04/22/2011 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs