dc food scene: equinox {vegan brunch}


TL;DR Average price for brunch in the district, but there are no bottomless drink options. It's a vegans dream, but non-vegans will love it too (Ask Maxim). Try everything if you can — it's buffet-style. 


First thing's first: For the longest time, I thought equinox was only a gym, and not an actual independent restaurant. So when I was researching good brunches forever ago, I assumed that when Googled showed brunch at Equinox, they were referring to something inside of the gym. 

...forgive me Todd Gray! 

But I finally wised up. So this past Sunday, Maxi and I headed off to Equinox DC, headed up by Chef Todd Grey, whom is, by the way, one of the sweetest guys I've ever met. And how cute is it that he called sunday brunch, "Todd Grey's Muse"?! 

Walking inside, we were greeted by the owner, Ellen (married to Todd Grey).

Brunch is served in the sunny alcove at the front of the restaurant. We sat  at a table with simple water glasses, white table cloths and menus describing everything available for brunch, a buffet-style meal that’s set up at the restaurant’s bar. 


Be aware that this is definitely a mom-and-pop-style restaurant, complete with the serve yourself buffet. Chef Gray walked around and greeted brunchers, and arranged special requests at the drop of a hat. 


BUT. You can not judge a book by its cover, and the food speaks for itself. Maxim, my non-vegan taste tester, could not say enough good things about it. We both went back for seconds…and thirds. Sorry, not sorry. 

Some of the servings? Apple spiced french toast, spicy bean chili (omg), fresh baked bread, banana bread, tofu scramble…do I need to continue? There's apparently vegan mac & cheese, which wasn't available this time, but I'll be back for it. And I made sure that I wasn't getting in my the leafy greens  with their fresh salads.

I highly recommend trying a little bit of everything the buffet has to offer. But if you’re picking and choosing, do the tofu scramble station, then dive into the bean chili. 

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The downside? Drinks aren’t included, which was something that I LOVED about El Centro. And there are no bottomless options either. 

Honestly, though: At $35 a pop, it’s an incredible brunch with tons of options for your vegetarian, vegan + gluten-free friends. But maybe pre-game before. If you’re into that kind of thing. 

DC Food Scene: El Centro D.F. {brunch}

So here's the deal, if you're a fan of brunch + tapas + unlimited alcoholic drinks (aka if you're like, human) you're going to be obsessed with El Centro D.F. 

Price: $35 per person + unlimited alcoholic drinks. 

Side note: there's an a la carte option, but let's be real: you're at brunch and the drinks basically pay for themselves after your third bloody mary. 

When I went, we got there early (brunch starts at 10 a.m.). The seating was those bar-like high chairs + tables. They have an open-air style garage door that was open for people-watching. Mellow samba music played in the background and within 5 minutes, there was already a Bloody Maria (a Bloody Mary with tequila because when in Rome). 

Since we were the first people there, our waitress was more than happy to accommodate my vegan needs and basically started bringing me a vegan version of one of everything on the menu. And it. was. incredible. If you're vegan/vegetarian/paleo/whatever, don't hesitate to tell them. As long as you're not stopping by at peak brunch, they're usually more than happy to accommodate your needs. 

The food is definitely leaning heavier on the Mexican than TexMex side, which was obviously a huge plus. 

We stayed for just under three hours, at which point I promptly conked out in bed to nurse my ridiculous food baby. Scroll down for my favorite dishes, then check out the full brunch menu here

My food winners: 

Other winners: Fried plantains, churros + flautas. Honestly, though: Brunch at El Centro D.F. is lit. Get there early and they'll make the menu totally vegan for you. 

NEXT: Read my thoughts on El Centro D.F. happy hour + dinner.