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Equinox Seeks a Second Opinion on Tom Sietsema's 1.5 Star Review With New Dueling Menus

Last week, Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema dropped a tough 1.5-star review on fine dining destination Todd Gray's Equinox and its new executive chef Karen Nicolas, which stood as a stark contrast to her selection as one of Food & Wine's best new chefs earlier this year. While the restaurant's initial response was just to note that "our happy clientele will take this with a grain of salt," Equinox has been hinting all day long about "opening the opinion polls" to solve this matter for once and for all. And now co-owner Ellen Kassoff Gray reveals to Eater that the plan is to launch dueling menus in honor of the election season.

Kassoff Gray explains she'd rather not get into "a pissing match" with Sietsema over the review, which "says more about the author than it does anything else" — later noting strong expressions of support she's gotten from the loyal Equinox power player clientele, saying "I think he's probably at a differing of opinion with some pretty serious people in the city who eat out a lot." So considering the two schools of thought, Kassoff Gray says she figured she could at least have a little fun with it by putting an electoral spin on it all.

So what exactly is happening? Well, Nicolas is currently preparing two special menus: one featuring dishes that Food & Wine highlighted and the other with both the good and bad dishes from Sietsema's review. Each will be available from 5-7 p.m. for less than $30 — because "all Americans deserve the right to vote" — starting sometime this week and running through Election Day.

Kassoff Gray is still working out the details on the voting aspect of this — will diners vote by awarding their own stars, perhaps? — but she says there will be a section of the Equinox website for voting. And for those who want to place their votes right away, Equinox will bring an iPad to the table after the conclusion of the meal. Stay tuned for more exact details and, in the meantime, Kassoff Gray jokes, "Tell them the Electoral College is being gathered."

· Tom Sietsema Hits Todd Gray's Equinox With 1.5 Stars [-EDC-]
· All Previous Equinox Coverage [-EDC-]

[Photo: R. Lopez]


818 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC, DC 20006