By Mollie McWilliams
By Molly Gore
By Pete Kane
By Pete Kane
By Anna Roth
By Alex Hochman
By Joseph Geha
By Anna Roth
"She didn't like it?" asked our waitress, noting the almost-full plate.
Open for dinner every night from 6 to 10 p.m., brunch on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Open for cocktails Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Fridays, noon to 1 a.m. on Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to midnight on Sundays
Parking: not too difficult
Muni: 1, 41, all streetcar lines, BART
Noise level: moderate
She promptly removed the salad from the bill.
That was a nice gesture, so I'll dedicate a paragraph to the cinematic beauty of Equinox. By the time Elsbeth returned, our fleeting sunset had all but expired and we were approaching the end of our second rotation. The sky burned a deep indigo, the bay looked purplish and iridescent, and all of a sudden I found myself bathed in golden light. I looked up -- a light in the ceiling! As the restaurant turned, the light swept across our table, a thousand brilliant rays reflecting off the brass lamp. I looked toward the Bay Bridge, where traffic flowed smoothly, and couldn't help but feel, if only for an instant, that all was well in the universe.
Few entrees could live up to such a moment, and as expected, ours didn't. Elsbeth's smoked sea bass was plenty smoky, but also tough and overcooked and served with a sweet, one-dimensional sauce we could never have identified as melon coulis without checking the menu. I opted for a safer choice -- lobster and prime rib -- which certainly wouldn't be worth $38 of my own money but which might be a good buy with $25 of someone else's. A split lobster came with a side of melted butter for dipping; a slab of tender, juicy prime rib came with creamy horseradish sauce, also for dipping. The whipped potatoes were whisper-light, but the asparagus and carrots were overcooked and the port reduction a bit watery.
The dessert menu looked less than exciting (a banana split, chunks of brownie with hot fudge) so we limited ourselves to the bananarama -- fairly good chocolate-covered banana cheesecake served with whipped cream and fresh berries. For a digestif we ordered a Piña Colada, an excellent, frothy, coconut-rich chalice of touristy goodness. The light hit me again, and I remembered you could order just drinks at Equinox, which seems a fine way to explore this funky corner of the city. Or go for the clam chowder and prime rib -- just be sure you're not the one paying for it. And do your fellow diners a favor by keeping your hands (and everything else) off the windows.