Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Beauty and Essex

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      On Sunday morning I went to brunch at a restaurant called Beauty and Essex, located downtown on Lower East Side. I had been there one time before, for Matt's birthday last year. It is owned by the same people who own Stanton Social (one of my favorites). There is a large yellow sign with the restaurant's name on the outside of the building, but take a quick glance inside, and you may be fooled (I know I was). You have to enter through a pawn shop first. I wouldn't call it a speakeasy per say, because of the large sign, but it definitely has that type of feel. For one, once you are inside, the decor does not scream Lower East Side. It has a trendy, upscale, yet elegant atmosphere, with beautiful mirrors, and chandeliers all over the place. As an added bonus- there is a champagne bar in the ladies bathroom with free PINK champagne.
      The food is amazing, but the problem is that there are way too many delicious sounding dishes on the menu. The good news is that the plates are small and meant to be shared amongst the table, so you can order a lot of them. The waitress recommended ordering 2 plates per person at the table. We were 4 people (all female) and we ordered 8 plates, which seemed like way too much by the end. BUT.....even when we didn't think we could eat another bite, we somehow managed to power through. We had- lemon blackberry ricotta pancakes, dark chocolate croissants, red velvet waffles, grilled cheese, bacon, and tomato soup dumplings (to rival the french onion soup dumplings at Stanton Social) New York pretzels, mac and cheese, free range scrambled eggs, and vanilla brown sugar grits (for the southern girl that remains from my college days). The tomato soup dumplings came on cute little spoons. They definitely get points for creativity. The saddest part of the entire brunch was when we were all too full to order any dessert. I did pick out what I would have ordered, either the box of donuts, the peanut butter and jelly creme brulee, or the pistachio baklava. Actually, lets be real, I probably would have ordered all three.
      Inside, the restaurant is very spacious, and the second floor is a large lounge area. This is beneficial if you do not enjoy sitting so close to fellow diners and/or waiting long periods of time for a table. Even though I didn't have any alcoholic beverages, the menu has some delicious sounding drinks. If it were not located so far downtown from where I live, I would definitely go there a lot more. Not just for the food, but to hang out at the bar at night. It is a great place to take a date because just being there is a lot of fun (it is also a great place for people watching). All in all, I would definitely recommend experiencing Beauty and Essex at least once.

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