For this week's review, Tom Sietsema checks in on chef Todd Gray's downtown mainstay Equinox and executive chef Karen Nicolas, appointed to the role last year. Though Food & Wine may have named her a best new chef, Sietsema apparently disagrees, dropping a 1.5-star review on a restaurant that counts the First Lady among its clientele. The Washington Post critic suggests that editing and execution are the problems — and then this:
Finally, there are plates that would be pleasant enough if you caught them on a trip to Orlando or Phoenix but fail to impress in a world capital. I'm recalling Nicolas's pillars of rare tuna in a pool of garlicky chickpea puree, and pale sweetbreads on a nest of frisee, figs and blue cheese, the salad upstaging the blond organ meat.
On the positive side of the ledger, Sietsema does cite the sardines that give him hope for the restaurant, a "crazy quilt" of goat ragout and a bowl of pork belly and clams that is "(pretty) good to the last drop." But all in all, a pretty tough review — perhaps particularly coming a year after Sietsema dinged Gray's other restaurant Watershed with just one star. Equinox, for their part, has already responded to the review on Twitter, writing: "thanks for the review but our happy clientele will take this with a grain of salt..."
[Photo: R. Lopez]