Beauty and Essex: Love it or Hate it?

26 Jan

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.

Sold!

The front is a “gallery” with some cool treasures.

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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.

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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).

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Then came the fried oysters… I cannot remember what was on these onions…

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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…

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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.

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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.

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And then we couldn’t stop there, right? We had to have dessert.  We got the black bottomed butterscotch pot de creme.

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It was adorable in the jar and came with 2 cookie spoons. Nice setup. Delicious. Rich. And perfect.

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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.

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It’s too designed.  Too New York snob.  It’s everything I hate…

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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

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

One Response to “Beauty and Essex: Love it or Hate it?”

  1. kate January 26, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    I want to go here now! Butterscotch pot de creme? Awesome.

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