Last week, my dining partners in crime and I decided to indulge in a luxurious meal at Beauty & Essex, the latest from Chef Chris Santos (The Stanton Social) and Club Guru Peter Kane (Tao and Lavo). I was so excited to try this place, I straightened my hair on a weeknight. Despite much enthusiasm, the night started poorly. After running across Rivington street, in heels, having my coconut water confiscated by the bouncer because “no outside beverages were allowed,” and arriving to find that our table was let go because we (specifically, neither of my dining companions and only I) was 18 minutes late, I was prepared to really not like this place. The hostess, who was very aware that I was very aware that she was very aware that she was considerably cooler than me, agreed to bump us up to the top of the waiting list for a table, and as we sat at the bar sipping $14 cocktails with names like The Emerald Gimlet and The Masterly Touch, I fumed about the angry blog post I planned to write about my tres miserable experience.
[The entrance, disguised as a pawn shop. I would have thought this was cooler if I wasn’t out of breath and sans coconut water, but it is pretty sweet. Image c/o Food Comas, a wonderful site with the tagline “the gastronomic adventures of three hungry girls.” (Please be my friends?)]
My mind was promptly changed from the moment our name was called for a table. We were led up the fur-walled spiral staircase (I mean honestly! Fur walls! I would cancel your reservation after 5 minutes and look you up and down like I knew your very Balenciaga-esque booties were actually Steve Madden too if my place of work had fur walls) by a very pretty, very skinny, and very tan man, who deposited us at a large, leather booth.
[Fur staircase. Designed by AvroKO, who are also behind the decor for some of NY favorites–Bourbon Steak, Double Crown, Public, Zengo. AvroKO, I would like a fur staircase leading up to the pressurized wall in my apartment. Image c/o AvroKO.]
Once we sat down, another very pretty and very skinny man entertained our plethora of questions (“If we only want one lobster dish and one melted cheese dish and one solid cheese dish, what should we order?”), and we settled on five dishes. Which were then followed up by three more. And sir, could you keep the wine flowing, please?
[Lobster Tacos–beer battered Maine lobster with cabbage slaw & jalapeno cream. Weird angle and flash a result of my enthusiastically grabbing for the largest taco while trying to snap a picture before all tacos were devoured]
Our dinner lasted several hours and I’m pretty sure I nearly got into a fistfight with a British man when aggressively upstreaming a cab home at almost-midnight. I thoroughly enjoyed this place–the bad was to be expected: seriously steep prices, bitchy hostesses, and a wait, but the good–delicious food, a super fun atmosphere, and a great night out with the girls–made up for it. Also, I’m pretty sure I was too buzzed to care by this point, but the ladies room here serves FREE CHAMPAGNE, in cute little flutes. I plan to diminish the cost of my next visit by propping up at the bar, ordering two appetizers, and going to the bathroom very often. Or, by taking my mom.