I’m not sure if you’ve ever faced my continual brunch dilemma of savory or sweet, but it’s an ongoing battle. Every time I go out to brunch, I’m immediately drawn to the decadent description of brioche French toast with fresh berries or lemon ricotta pancakes, but resist because I know myself too well; I will take two bites and crave something savory to even out the sweet. Well, I found my solution at Beauty and Essex, a genius idea of brunch small plates to share which means everyone can have a bite of both sweet and savory.
Beauty and Essex wins at life, and they win a top seat on my favorite brunch spots, which is saying a lot coming from a bruncher like me. When you enter the old furniture store front that the restaurant has tastefully kept intact, the dark front room is full of cases holding antique jewelry, skis and other strange items. You immediately hear bouncing club music from the champagne brunch day club upstairs, and as you enter the dark velvet adorned bar, you’ll spot girls in furs and heels galore. I’ll admit the trendy, dressed-up aspect of the place is not really my style for brunch, (pretty sure I was in Lululemon leggings…) but it makes for fantastic people-watching. If you’re not into “the scene,” this place may not be for you.
Now let’s get to the food. Chris Santos, the executive chef, is hands-down the king of small plates. After eating at his restaurant Stanton Social, I couldn’t wait to see what his other Lower East Side spot had to offer. We started off with vanilla beignets with raspberry preserves for a sweet bite, and they were incredible, warm and oozing with raspberry. Luckily there were four of us, so we got to try quite a few different savory bites as well. My favorites were probably the “bagel and lox” pizzetta (a “pizza dough” that literally tasted like a flattened everything bagel with a generous portion of lox), the braised short rib huevos rancheros and the lobster hash. We were not disappointed in anything, and could easily have ordered about 8 other dishes; it was very hard to choose! And the best part was getting to try a few bites of everything. Tapas-style brunch is definitely the way to go, well done Beauty and Essex.
Beauty and Essex $$$
146 Essex St. New York, NY 10022
What to Order:
Small Plates: Vanilla Beignets, Hot & Sweet Marinated Tomatoes on toast, Bagel & Lox Pizetta, Lobster & Chorizo Hash, Braised Short Rib Huevos
*Note: Order about 2 per person