Did someone say champagne bar in the ladies restroom? And it’s free? Yes indeed. Beauty and Essex is one of the spots in New York City.
Deliberately designed to keep the riff-raff away, the street entrance of to the restaurant is an odd-looking pawnshop. If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you would walk straight on past. Go inside however and you realise this is no ordinary pawnshop - $40,000 necklaces hang in the cabinets amongst other old but beautiful paraphernalia. Red ruby slippers and vintage Rolexes delight many a punter.
Moving through the pawnshop, nother door opens and you are ushered into the busy front bar. The music is cool and the crowd is hip and young. As with any great restaurant in New York, you must wait some time before being seated at your table (even when you arrive on time for your booking). That being said, no one would object to sitting or standing at the bar and enjoying one of the fresh cocktails on offer.
Everything on the menu at Beauty & Essex is designed to be shared amongst friends. The portions aren’t huge but each item represents a well though out taste and a delightful one at that. The food is on the heavier side and can quickly add up in price but the experience is worth it.
Some favourite menu items of mine include the tuna sashimi with the crunchy chorizo. The chorizo adds just the right amount of salt and texture. The freshness of the sashimi is unbelievable. The oven braised chicken meatballs are the perfect mix of salt and truffle. Add truffle to anything and it tastes better and these meatballs are no exception.
I have saved the best part for last though. A free champagne bar and perfumery in the ladies toilet turns any restroom experience into an extraordinary one. The service is impeccable, the food is great and the atmosphere is pumping.
After dinner, make sure you head up the spiral staircase past the ostentatious chandeliers to the 'VIP' bar where you can sip cocktails and mingle late into the night.
Recommended: Sashimi of tuna, Tonnato style; kale salad
146 Essex Street
New York, NY 10002