The LES has become such a trendy place to wine and dine, and of course party. It’s also turned into a “hip” place to live, although if you venture to the neighborhood during the day you’ll see that it’s still in pretty rough shape and needs some cleaning up. I know way too many people that used to live in the Lower East Side that experienced bedbugs. So, I would rather just go there for a drink and/or dinner every once in a while. I’m way too happy living in Chelsea.
My boyfriend and I ventured to Beauty & Essex this past Saturday night for a birthday party. Just take a guess what street this restaurant/bar/lounge is located on… that’s right, Essex! When you enter, you have to walk through a pawn shop before being greeted at the actual door to the restaurant. “Are we in the right place?” my boyfriend asked me when we first arrived. And if I hadn’t googled this joint before heading downtown I probably would have been confused myself.
Once the bouncer opened the door for us, we stepped into a place completely different than the pawn shop. (This is one reason why I love living in New York City, you never know what you’re going to find.) Immediately when you step inside you see a luxurious curved staircase that takes you up to the second floor — this is where we were seated with friends. Beauty & Essex is a fabulous combination of a bar, lounge, and restaurant. If you can’t get a table to eat at, then the next best thing is to order some appetizers at the lounge-section. I actually enjoyed sitting in this seat because it felt more cozy (perfect on a cold winter night) and it allowed more people in the group to move around and chat with everyone.
Instead of ordering dinner, we ordered a ton of appetizers and snacked on those until we were filled. The plates we ordered were primarily fish dishes, something I would never complain about. Some orders included: the tuna poke wonton tacos, lobster pizzetta, lobster tacos, wok fried mushrooms, classic pan con tomate with fresh burrata, creamy parsnip ravioli, and oven braised chicken meatballs.
The tuna tacos were so tasty! The fish was fresh and the tacos added fantastic texture to each bite. Lime wedges were provided to squeeze on top, and usually I consider this a have-to-do but this time there was so much flavor in the dish already it wasn’t a necessity. We ordered the lobster pizzetta without bacon, and I loved the flavors on this plate too! Loaded with tasty chunks of lobster, and lots of cheese on top, you’ll never want your pizza made any other way. I was also surprised with the creamy parsnip ravioli — it was a vegetarian ravioli and I swear I thought there was meat in it! Those vegetarians sure can trick you!
Overall I really enjoyed myself here. The night started with some music playing in the background and as it got later the music was turned up for more of a “club” feel. The energy at this place was also so much fun — I can’t wait to go back!
(photos courtesy of Yelp)