A short block away off the F train Delancey/Essex stop you will find Beauty & Essex, a wonderment and highlight of the Lower East Side. The restaurant is helmed by famed chef and judge on Food Network’s hit show “Chopped”, Chris Santos. Similarly to his other LES restaurant “The Stanton Social”, Beauty & Essex boasts amazing scenery with really incredible sharable dishes to enjoy with the party you are with.
When you see the outside of Beauty & Essex, as well as what the interior looks like, it doesn’t scream restaurant at all. The entrance to the location is actually tucked behind a pawn shop of sorts, which made me feel very “Legends of the Hidden Temple” when I walked in. After you made it through the pawn shop, you open a very large door into Beauty & Essex, which is adorned with an absolutely stunning bar which then leads into a plush atmosphere, dimly lit with some fantastic seating for you and your friends.
I loved the vibe that Beauty & Essex brought to it. It screams Lower East Side in a way, similar to how The Stanton Social does, as the chill vibe was sprung throughout yet the energy of the place was very alive as we were there for roughly three hours. Whether you simply want to chill by the bar and have a delicious drink, enjoy a bunch of sharable plates with your company, or even enjoy what the pawn shop has to offer, the versatility of Beauty & Essex really shows throughout and makes it a big highlight in the area.
The food itself was tasty, filling, and unique in its approach and execution, not the mention depth of flavor and profile. Here is what we recommend you try the next time you are at this wonderful location. In their Raw Bar section, the Tuna Poke Wonton Tacos, with micro cilantro, radish and wasabi kewpie are a great starter bite to enjoy. I’m not the biggest fan of raw tuna, however it paired really well with the wasabi, radish and cilantro to really make it a flavorful bite. They have a section of the menu called “Jewels On Toast”, which essentially tops off a delicious piece of toast with a variety of fresh and flavorful ingredients. We opted for the Caesar Toast, which rings like a Caesar Salad only in Toast form, with creamy garlic and crispy chicken skin. A mouthful of a bite that was truly tasty.
Moving onto the dinner portions, the first thing when I saw Beauty & Essex’ menu that really stood out to me were there Grilled Cheese, Smoked Bacon & Tomato Soup Dumplings, which sounds like a killer combination. At first, I thought they were all separate entities, however they are actually able to combine all of them with a tomato soup broth onto one spoon, and it really tastes like heaven in your mouth. Easily the standout dish for us. For the meat side, we really loved the Oven Braised Chicken Meatballs with sheeps milk ricotta, wild mushroom and truffles and their Braised Short Ribs with charred Yukon potato salad, creamed corn and pastilla gastrique. The Chicken Meatballs were cooked perfectly, and when you add the ricotta, mushroom and truffles, you are really in for a great bite. The Short Ribs were a bit more complex, as the meat was falling off and had such a flavor depth to it, and we also really loved the coldness of the potato salad mixed with the creamed corn.
They have a ton of great options for dessert, and we ranged for something a bit more southern style. Their Box of Doughnuts were our favorite dessert of the night, which essentially were vanilla beignets with chocolate hazelnut creme and raspberry jam. The doughnuts were oozing with flavor from the creme and jam, and a perfect end to an amazing meal.
We definitely recommend you checking them out for Restaurant Week, still currently going on, and all year long. For more information, check out their official site.