There are some places that you hear so much about that you start to think it just MUST suck. While I like the idea of “hidden” restaurants, such as Beauty & Essex that has the front of an antique store, they have a tendency to cater to an audience that cares about things like clothing labels and high heels. I was in sneakers and no-brand jeans. But Beauty & Essex was around the corner, we needed dinner, and there were 2 seats at the bar.
The front is a “gallery” with some cool treasures.
You enter through the door and the bar is mostly surrounded by exactly the type of people I thought it would be. I looked around and immediately decided I was going to hate this place just out of principle.
But then… this was placed in front of me…
Roasted bone marrow with rioja braised shallot marmalade.
Sigh… my hatred flew out the window and I drowned in the buttery marrow on the perfectly toasted bread with that just-sweet-enough marmalade to make me dance in my bar stool (little known fact: when I REALLY like food, I literally dance as I eat it).
Then came the fried oysters… I cannot remember what was on these onions…
But I remember thinking that fried oysters shouldn’t be that delicious. Frying should ruin the flavor of the oysters… but oh no… not here…
Our next selection was spaghettini with zucchini, lemon, parsley pesto, parmigiano and a sunny side up egg. It was such a great blend of flavors, with bursting freshness.
And of course, we tried the burger. It came with garlic aioli, beefsteak tomato, goat feta, and crispy bbq fries. It was an excellent burger. I enjoyed the taste of the bun, but it fell to one of the biggest burger bun problems… halfway through it was in pieces. But it didn’t matter… it was good.
And then we couldn’t stop there, right? We had to have dessert. We got the black bottomed butterscotch pot de creme.
It was adorable in the jar and came with 2 cookie spoons. Nice setup. Delicious. Rich. And perfect.
And then I went to the bathroom… where there is champagne. And as I laughed at the ridiculousness of this as well as at the women dressed to the nines in the bathroom, I realized that Beauty & Essex is the kind of place I don’t belong.
It’s too designed. Too New York snob. It’s everything I hate…
But I LOVED it. Each and every bite.
Thanks Beauty & Essex… you couldn’t even make this sneakered, snarky, cynical New Yorker hate you for very long.
Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10