You won't imagine there is a restaurant inside when arriving to Beauty & Essex. A shop door takes you to the dining heaven behind, a breathtaking restaurant spread over two floors decorated with the finest items out there.
When alcohol was banned in the States a long time ago, shops hid their bars behind simple shops which are used today as tourist attractions. A shop with guitars and Louis Vuitton items hides a huge restaurant beautifully decorated with leather and wood as well as fine material like glass and classy chandeliers.
As you enter hostesses welcome you to heaven. On the first floor is a bar with its dim lights and low ceiling, on the side is a one with a more intimate feel and the other room sits next to the bar and a long chesterfield sofa. Down below is the main dining area under a glass ceiling which lets in the fresh light of day, that day sunset was at 8:30pm.
Walk to the gallery filled with square and round wooden tables on a floor covered with grey stone tiles and lit with a couple of chandeliers and warm light. Look up for some greenery that adds some freshness. All the tables are decorated with a candle in a cup. Leather, more leather and wooden black seats.
I loved the feel of this old space, where the bricks are painted in black, the walls are covered in designer fabrics, the ceiling painted in gold and some fake flowers decorate one side of the restaurant. I was enchanted by this restaurant, an amazing first impression while the experience started.
Two menus are distributed, one for the drinks and one for dinner. The idea around here is to order tapas, sharing plates, and the waiter fills the plates with pieces for all the guests on the table. We were four and were recommended to order 9 plates.
- Wines by the glass
- Virgin cocktails
- Raw bar
- Jewels on toast
- The main menu
- Prime meats
Ask for the special menu:
- Dairy free
- Garlic free
- Onion free
- Gluten free
Executive chef: Chris Santos
Chef de cuisine: Sarah Nelson
Let's have fun:
- It started with a miss-en-bouche recommended by the chef: Watermelon and plum gaspaccio. Bizarre is the word, something I didn't even feel like finishing.
- Tomato sauce and dumplings: Six spoons, each filled with a warm tomato soup and a crunchy melting dumpling. A sour tomato soup, flaky baked dumplings, different from the ones we know, topped with crispy bacon and a melting heart of grilled cheese. That's good.
- Enpanadas: Four pieces on a bed of jalapeño lime green sauce. Baked and flaky with crunchy borders, an airy dough filled with a kind of warm mousse of poblano and manchego cheese. Tasty!
- Kale and apple salad: A beautiful salad where a crunch, a smoothness and some excitement blend together in a sauce that awesomely embraces everything. The apples add the sweetness, the cabbage the crunch with an apple cider vinaigrette, crunchy candied pecan and shaved goat cheese. The pancetta should be added on the side and they taste like chewy bacon.
- Lobster Tacos: Four beer battered lobster chunks each fitted in a flaky taco, enjoyable red cabbage slaw and poblano crema. That's yummy!
- Heritage baby back ribs: I liked the presentation, the generosity and flavor, but the texture could be improved. I might not be a fan of dry things. The smoked black pepper honey butter is what makes the difference. With that are disgusting balls of a chewy sweet something looking and tasting like mashed potatoes.
- Beauty & Essex burger: The burger is different, but unfortunately not up to my taste. A dreamy, chewy bun which is an interesting approach, a thick tomato slice, roma lettuce, but a meat that's dry and sticky. It keeps a long lasting unpleasant after taste. The fries, on the other hand, are close to perfect.
- Double cut lamb chops: I believe the seasoning at this restaurant is unique, but the meat is bad. Too fatty, too raw, too chewy with unpleasant sliding pieces escaping from a side to another under the teeth. Deceiving.
Food is good. Could have been better, but good enough.
- The box of doughnuts is awesome! Six mini doughnuts presented in a carton box like little jewels. Super fluffy doughnuts covered with sugar and filled with a melting chocolate hazelnut cream. The raspberry ones are also good, but the chocolate ones are really extraordinary.
- Black bottomed butterscotch pot de creme: Yummy, smooth, well created and balanced chocolate mousse with coconut Chantilly presented with spoon-shaped biscuits.
It was all good, the service was professional, the welcoming attentive, the music was fun and the ambiance enjoyable. A must try if you're visiting New York.