Restaurant Review: Beauty & Essex

Restaurant: Beauty & Essex
Cuisine: Tapas
Location(s): Lower East Side
Lush or Lacking?: Lush in vibes, yet Lacking in flavorful foods
Personal favorite dish: Olive Oil Cured Tomato Pizzetta

Almost everyone who is anyone has heard of Beauty and Essex whether it be for a night out of dancing, for Gilt City’s Beauty & Essex Saturday brunches, or for a dinner splurge. I personally have been to Beauty & Essex on several occasions for all of the above reasons.

Beauty and Essex has gained its reputation as a prime spot to go to wind down and have fun for the following reasons:
First of all, don’t be fooled by the pawn shop at the entrance because inside the restaurant/club/bar the interior décor is majestic. I personally think that it’s mainly due to the fact that the wall leading up the stairwell is covered in fur. Yes, fur. I literally go upstairs for purposes of caressing the walls alone. The fancy chandeliers, old fashioned leather couches, and antique design help jazz up the place as well.
Secondly, inside of the women’s bathroom one can find herself powdering up and simultaneously ordering a glass of champagne from a bartender because the tales are true, there is a bar in the bathroom. I find that women have just as much fun lounging on the bathroom couches and sipping a glass of rosé as they do in the outside bar potentially getting ogled at by the fellas.
Thirdly, depending on when one goes to Beauty & Essex, the crowd varies but always oozes with vigor, style, and class. I find that during Saturday brunch, the crowd mainly consists of young couples or friends dressed casually but once it turns into night, diners/lounge goers tend to whip out the freakum dresses or sportcoats and ties. If you’re single, get ready to mingle because there are several potential candidates at this spot. Tip – like most NYC joints, if coming in the evening for a drink and if you are with a group of women, you probably won’t have a problem getting right in by walking up to the front and talking directly with the doormen.
Lastly, in the evenings the DJ plays the best tunes ranging from the top 40 to house to hip hop. I love coming here to dance because the DJ rarely disappoints and provides enough of a plethora of different genres of music that I don’t get bored.

And now, onto the food. I’ve eaten at Beauty and Essex twice. Once for a friend’s birthday and once for a brunch date with my boyfriend. I found that for the larger party, the restaurant was a bit disorganized since we had to wait for more than an hour before being seated and then were not even placed at a proper dining table. Brunch, fortunately, went much smoother as there was only a short wait for our reservation and we were placed in a booth in the main dining area. For the most part, I cannot recollect what I ate at the birthday dinner, but I will give a rundown of the brunch feast with my boo.

I first discovered the brunch option at Beauty and Essex when I stumbled upon the voucher after visiting, my main go-to for the hottest deals in the city. This voucher is magnificent in the fact that it offers a four course brunch for two plus a bottle of Chandon Brut for only $75. This meal would usually cost nearly twice this amount and I’m a sucker for these deals so, naturally, I snagged it.

For the first course we ordered the Eggs Benedict with jamon Serrano and bollandaise. I am a pesco-vegetarian so clearly this meal was for my boyfriend but I attempted to pull the strings a bit and asked if they could replace the jamon with lox. Surprisingly, restaurants in New York can be very accommodating (Mr Chow was by far the most accommodating restaurant I’ve ever been to), but unfortunately, the chef’s at Beauty and Essex were complete sticklers and were unwilling to make any changes to the dish. So be it! I removed the jamon and ate away. I must say that without any meat, whether it be ham or salmon, the eggs benedict just are not the same (and quite honestly, the best eggs benedict I’ve ever eaten were at Sarabeth’s so I am always drawing the comparison). If I could do it again, I would probably opt for the Cornbread Waffles because they are coated with a sweet maple-bourbon butter & spiced pecans aka heaven in condiments.

The next plate brought to the table was the Fried Chicken Biscuit Bites with tabasco honey butter, and red cabbage slaw, again mainly for my boyfriend, though I nibbled at the biscuits. Although I did not get to indulge myself with this course, my boyfriend appeared to enjoy it as he gobbled down all four biscuits and chicken in one sitting, and that was after the eggs benedict. He actually left little to no room for the last course, the Olive Oil Cured Tomato Pizzetta with basil puree, goat cheese, and crispy Serrano. Surprisingly I did not have room for this either, which I don’t understand since the pizza was the only dish that was pesco-vegetarian friendly. Clearly I nibbled on everything like it was going out of fashion until I couldn’t fit another forkful down my throat. It was not until later when we got home that we devoured the pizza and I discovered that this may have been my favorite entrée of the bunch.

Lastly, for the dessert, we had the Selection of Ice Creams & Sorbets. Clearly nothing novel about this option, but it tasted just as good as any other ice cream and sorbet. Overall, I’m not sure whether it is because of the lack of a pesco-vegetarian friendly kitchen or the actual taste of the food, but I am not a huge fan of dining here, and would much rather go for evening drinks. Someone without my dietary restrictions, however, may enjoy this place more than I did.

FASHION RECOMMENDATION: Casual for brunch, dressy casual for dinner

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