Equinox DC - The Vegan Brunch You Need to Try
Equinox is an elegant, upscale restaurant focusing on New American food and is really a classic in DC. They are well known for their focus on vegetable dishes as well, so I was super excited to try their popular Sunday vegan brunch buffet.
Vegan brunch is hard to come by in the city, so I was kinda interested to check out a spot that broke away from the traditional brunch items. Equinox’s brunch definitely has some traditional items, but also included lots of unexpected twists and turns that were interesting and delicious.
You might have some preconceived notions about a vegan brunch that is a buffet, but trust me, those will disappear the minute you walk into the restaurant. The buffet is expansive with many different stations, has great variety, and is full of good food!
The bread display includes a number of different breads (including gluten free options), along with a number of house made spreads and dips. The options change on a regular basis, and I loved having the variety of tapenades, jams, spices, and oils to help myself to.
The tofu scramble station features a made to order scramble with whatever produce is available in season. I’ve had many terrible tofu scrambles so I was a bit skeptical, but this was definitely one of the best ones I’ve had, topped with my choice of vegetables and even some vegan cheese. I’m a cheese lover so I’ll probably skip the vegan cheese next time.
Other buffet items included the most addictive cauliflower tempura which came lightly doused in a sweet and sour sauce, a fresh and light pasta primavera, falafel, soup (I got a yummy garlicky gazpacho!), salads, flatbreads, and fruit. The stuffed French toast with blackberry jam was pretty delicious too. As you can tell, the brunch is vegan but that does not mean it isn’t decadent either!
We also sampled some additional treats from Chef Todd, some of which may be spotted on the brunch menu or dinner. The hearts of palm cake with homemade vegetable chips was a favorite at the table – it resembles the texture of a chunky crab cake, and was flavorful and light. I also enjoyed the pickled vegetables that came along with the falafel, but the falafel itself was a bit bland for my taste (My Isndian tastebuds might be to blame. The chickpea and turmeric crepe topped with mushrooms and tahini was tasty and reminded me of this Indian dish “besan ka cheela”, also made with chickpea flour. Anyway, my takeaway from these little bites was the versatility of Chef Todd’s knowledge and creativity in coming up with fun and tasty vegan dishes that have a sense of refinement. Also, whether you are vegan or not (I sure am not), I kinda forgot about everything being “vegan” and definitely did not miss the meat – meaning, it was good, creative, satisfying, tasty food and that’s about it. (As an aside - Restaurants which have a token vegan dish have a LOT to learn from Chef Todd – I swear, if I see one more black bean burger again…..).
After eating all of this though, I still had to sample some treats from the dessert station. The mini cupcakes, cannolis, banana bread, tarts, and more were enticing enough. Suffice it to say I indulged in a number of them.
The $35 brunch buffet does not include drinks, which are available a la carte, but it’s an understatement to say you eat your money’s worth in quality food. The entire Gray family is also involved in every aspect of the restaurant – Chef Todd is the wizard in the kitchen and walks around the dining rooms regularly greeting guests, Ellen Gray is one of the warmest and welcoming hosts, and their son is involved behind the bar making drinks and juices. Truly a family run establishment, making the entire experience all the more personal and intimate.
I left the brunch extremely satisfied and confident that everyone, vegan or not, would absolutely enjoy it. It’s a great place for a special brunch experience, a date, or for a group. I’m ready to go back anytime.
Check out their website HERE.