Monday, March 25, 2013

Passover Seder at Equinox

*Sponsored Post
Equinox has entered into its second decade of serving regional and seasonal cuisine in downtown DC. The restaurant's chic new interior perfectly complements Chef Todd Gray's cuisine, artfully combining clean modern lines with a comfortable old-world charm. A passionate promoter of mid-Atlantic ingredients, Chef Gray combines local ingredients with classical Italian techniques to create the distinctive cuisine of Equinox.  Closest Metro is Farragut West.

Just in time for Passover, Chef Gray's latest book, The New Jewish Table, was published by St. Martin’s Press and reflects both Chef Gray’s seasonal American cooking from his restaurants and Eastern European Jewish recipes. There’s also an autobiographical bent to the book, as the husband and wife team talk about their life story, how food entered the picture and how they’ve brought their families’ traditions together. With over 125 recipes in the cookbook, standouts include: Yukon Gold and sweet potato latkes, Ellen’s falafel with pickled vegetables and minted lemon yogurt, and matzo-stuffed Cornish game hens. Equinox’s popular truffled mac and cheese recipe is also included.

I received an early copy of the new cook book and we were invited to Equinox to enjoy a Passover Seder featuring recipes from the book. This Jewish ritual feast marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover and is a celebration of freedom with lots of wine and matza!

We participated in readings, songs, games, food and wine.  It was my first time participating in a Seder and it was nice to see Chef Todd and his wife Ellen's family and friends all together in the room.  (Even Ellen's uncle was in attendance to also celebrate his 98th birthday!)  They were so welcoming to us non-Jewish guests, and I learned a lot about this special holiday.

We nibbled on bites of figs soaked in Port wine with a goat cheese spread along with matza and other unleavened treats while the readings took place.

For the first course, we enjoyed a Roasted Red and Golden Beet Salad.  Served with shaved red onion, golden raisins, and Sicilian pistachios, this salad had a nice acidic bite to start the evening.

For the main course, Keith enjoyed the Black Angus Beef Brisket in red wine sauce.  The incredibly tender meat came with golden potato mousseline and wilted spinach.  Additionally, a bowl of quinoa with poached figs and mint was served family-style at each table.  The main course paired nicely with the red Israeli wine they served.

As a vegetarian alternative, I enjoyed a Mushroom Barley Risotto with wilted spinach.  The earthy flavors of the mushrooms were accentuated by the red Israeli wine.

For dessert, we ate a Traditional Flourless Chocolate Cake served with a salted caramel ice cream and bourbon-vanilla sauce.  The cake was light and airy - almost like a cross between a mousse and a brownie.  I especially enjoyed the salty ice cream, and overall left very satisfied.

I want to give special thanks to Chef Todd and Ellen for inviting us to their Passover Seder.  All of the dishes we ate are featured in their new cook book, The New Jewish Table - order a copy today!  I can't wait to try some other recipes myself At Home.  Or make reservations at Equinox to enjoy this same Passover dinner, available now until April 2.
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