Few restaurants open when their owners predict they will, so it’s a treat to report that Todd and Ellen Gray, who forecast a late-spring launch for Watershed , are opening their second restaurant in Washington in the Hilton Garden Inn this Friday for dinner.
When Watershed was announced in October, the Grays had yet to name a chef. Over the weekend, the owners of Equinox told me that they’ve hired two people to helm the operation north of Massachusetts Avenue: Chris Kenworthy, a former sous chef from Hook in Georgetown, and Wade Hoo-Fatt, who once worked for local caterer extraordinaire Susan Gage. Kenworthy will oversee the 62-seat dining room; Hoo-Fatt will be responsible for Watershed’s banquet and catering business.
The restaurant’s menu will spotlight fish and seafood “from Maine to Florida,” including lesser-used ingredients such as tile fish and triggerfish, says Todd Gray. Sharing space on the list will be a crab cake, roast chicken, pork ribs and an “East Coast” gumbo made with Surry sausage and Florida rock shrimp.
Watershed’s 30-seat lounge features a raw bar that goes beyond fresh bivalves to embrace raw meat and produce, as in beef carpaccio and uncooked vegetable and fruit salads.
Watershed’s opening date falls on a special occasion for the couple — it’s also the day of their 16th wedding anniversary. Todd Gray jests that Watershed is “my anniversary present for my wife.”