in NYC is such an outrageous and unique experience. Between the famous 5th Avenue
Easter Bonnet Parade, to the spring flowers starting to bloom and bring the city of light to color. If you haven’t experienced it, I highly recommend putting it on your bucket list. It is an affair that will surely put you in the mood. Traditionally my family and I always head down to little Italy to indulge in some true Italian food on Mulberry. This year, we decided to change it up a little bit. Still downtown, a little more East, we made our way to the Lower East Side. There are so many beautiful places in NYC, so many hidden treasures, and still some speakeasy’s that are a must see. But how about a hidden gem, tucked away behind a functioning pawn shop. I am talking about the wondrous Beauty & Essex. It is a true hidden gem, located down on the Lower East Side. Hidden behind this functioning pawn shop, you have what is known as one of New York’s most beautiful & prestigious restaurants. When you head inside, you walk in to see a two-story crystal chandelier, and around you is a high-class, but cozy atmosphere. The decor is unique, with a touch of antique, and elegance. Celebrity chef Chris Santos,’ has designed a menu of international small plates, that are presented in such beauty, it’s almost hard to eat. They are designed to such perfection. A couple of well-known items on the menu, Tomato Tartare served with a sunny side up quail egg, on a Parmesan crostini.. Tuna Poke Wonton Tacos served with micro cilantro, radish, wasabi kewpie.. Jewels on toast Brussel Sprouts & Crispy Serrano Ham served with fig-goat cheese and a smoky aioli.. Grilled Cheese, Smoked Bacon & Tomato Soup Dumplings.. & Oven Braised Chicken Meatballs served over a sheeps milk ricotta, wild mushroom, truffle. At the time of our reservation we were given the brunch menu, so I was not able to try all of these fan favorites. Not a big deal though, I look at it as a good excuse to go back. Even more so a reason to go back… there may be only two levels, two huge dining rooms, and two bars that you can see. But, rumor has it there is a third hidden bar which is in the women’s bathroom, and pours free champagne for all the ladies. I was able to see the bar for myself but I am deeply saddened to say it was not open at the time I was there. If you haven’t already read my all about me, and haven’t gotten the hint from my “deeply saddened” phrase, I have a HUGE love for champagne. There’s a good chance it’s in my veins. Fermented grapes are part of my everyday diet. whoops!, Getting side tracked by free champagne, sorry! Anyways, let’s get to my food experience…
Being that we were given the brunch menu, our choices were slightly limited as far as the must haves goes. However, we chose the Jewels on toast Brussel Sprouts & Crispy Serrano Ham
..and the Grilled Cheese, Smoked Bacon & Tomato Soup Dumplings to start.
We then ordered, the Chile Relleno’ Empanadas which had a poblano & manchego filling, dressed with a jalapeño-lime crema.. the Crispy Eggplant Pizzetta which was topped with a charred san marzano tomato sauce, whipped ricotta and chile oil.. the Braised Short Rib ‘Huevos Rancheros served with a sunny side up eggs, black beans and cotija.. and lastly the Oven Braised Chicken Meatballs.
Amongst 5 of us, and our choices for lunch, we weren’t starving, but we weren’t full either. The menu can be pricey, and the portions are small. However, RIDICULOUSLY good is an understatement, and it’s worth every penny in my eyes (or should I say stomach). The flavors are all completely on point, and melt on your taste-buds. The taste alone will leave you satisfied. For a first timer at Beauty & Essex, I can easily say I will definitely be back. The atmosphere alone is like no other, and the food leaves you with an experience to remember, and talk about. My next reservation, most definetly, will be dinner time so I can try the rest of the must haves on the list (& witness this free-flowing pink Champagne in the ladies’ room) So I will leave you with a to be continued with my Beauty & Essex experience, we will continue next time with dinner.
P.s. I may have went out the next day to buy canape spoons to experiment with those grilled cheese tomato soup dumplings lolol.
P.s.s. There is a really cool street art mural across the street that is a must for taking pictures! Be sure to use the hashtag #oksanapro to show the artist some love ❤