100 Best Restaurants 2008: Equinox

No. 63: Equinox

Cuisine: Chef/owner Todd Gray has long been at the forefront of cooking with ingredients both local and organic—many of the foodstuffs on his contemporary American menu are from artisanal producers and small farms in the region.

Mood: Suits from the White House and nearby think tanks know the glass-enclosed patio is a place to see and be seen, while the dining room, in earth tones with antiques and oversize vases of flowers, is a snug spot for serious powwows.

Best for: A client lunch or dinner.

Best dishes: Sweet-pepper salad with capers and honey balsamic vinegar; kabocha-squash soup with pancetta and pumpkin seeds; salty panko-crusted skate wing with sweet parsnip purée; egg fettuccine with shaved Alba truffles and forest mushrooms; “cassoulet,” lamb three ways; house-made sorbets including blood orange and pineapple.

Insider tips: Gray has a way with vegetables, salads, and sides, which show produce and artisanal ingredients to best advantage. Even in the deconstructed coq au vin, the vegetables steal the show.

Service: ••

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.