Monday, March 14, 2011

Gluten-Free Watercooler-Luxe at Beauty & Essex

*Store front of Beauty and Essex

 Entrance to lobby of restaurant.  Past the door and enter an elegant presence...

I just went to one of the most amazing brunches EVER!  Not your traditional brunch, but amazing Brunch Tapas!!  I had heard such good things about Beauty and Essex.  I heard it was glam, a hotspot, trendy, a scene and fun.  I had to try!  My friend Nicole came into the city to take me out for my belated birthday.  I immediately thought of Beauty and Essex.  This new dig is another one of Chef Chris Santos's creations.  Overall? It was fantastic! And NOT what I was expecting.  The space is an old pawn shop which starts off looking like a store front where you can actually buy pawned outdated electronics like mint condition guitars, boom boxes and Walkman headsets! Upon walking inside you are introduced to a more plush dining experience with crystal chandeliers, checkerboard floors and spiralling staircases.  Walking through the restaurant it is as if you are in a Jazz lounge with mood music and plush couches during the Prohibition Era.  It's quite a wild experience.  Further inside is a huge dining room filled with open sunlit skylights and woven twine.  There are two bars and a lounge in this 10,000 square foot space that can seat up to 300! Though you will never feel on top of your neighbors or overcrowded.  I was so glad I didn't bail on my friend and opt for the neighborhood Josie's Restaurant.

The lobby after the Pawn Shop Store Front
The Lounge
The Dining Space

I loved their menu.  Their side dishes had titles like "Accessories", their sweet items like Ricotta Pancakes were listed under "Sweet Things and Starters" and anything on bread was called "Jewels On Toast".  The headers/catergories on the menu are listed in elegant script.  The actual menu feels like leather and it is tinted red.  And lucky for me there was a gluten-free menu.

I knew the gist of the menu because Stanton Social is similar.  It is Tapas, but I always order my own dishes.  I do not share.  I mostly can't because of my gluten sensitivity.  To my surprise Beauty and Essex had a GLUTEN FREE menu!  I was so happy!  And shocked! But I should have known because Stanton Social also owned by the same owner has a gluten free menu.  And it's a fancy gluten-free menu.  Their menu's are written in curly script writing and are so elegant you'll be glad to order off this menu.

The above menu pics are from their dinner GF menu.  But I went their for Brunch.  I didn't actually get to order from the GF Menu, as their brunch menu is interchangeable with their regular gluten menu.  Their wait-staff is extremely educated in the gluten allergy and your server will advise you upon your arrival.  There were great options.  And everything looked so good!  It tasted good too!  It was divine.  Heaven.

*For the life of me I have forgotten the name of my dish.  It was
from the brunch menu, and I believe it was called Chicken Chilhuae 
(or something like that).  It had tortilla chips, a sunny side up egg,
pulled chicken, greens and pickled onions.  Sounds odd right? It 
was truly divine.

  I decided to try Kale for the first time, a leaf simular to Spinach.  
This salad was amazing.  This salad had the perfect balance of
leaf and fruit.

The food was fantastic.  There was so much to choose from.  The cocktails were inventive.  The ambiance was luxe.  It's a downtown scene. It's a scene you want to be a part of yet you can show up in jeans and Converse.  It's a hipster casual scene with an elegant ambiance.  Overall my dining experience on a scale from 1-10 was a 100+++!  I cannot wait to go there again!  I have already told so many friends via email, text and BBM that they must try this place!

Beauty and Essex is located on Essex Street between Stanton and Rivington in the Lower East Side, NYC.  Try calling for a ressie (212) 614-0146, and if you need easy and are not near a phone make sure you book a ressie online at

The one thing I do recommend is to only order 1 dish and share the second with a friend.  The dishes are a lot bigger then those at Stanton Social.  I believe the portions are of bigger large tapas plates.  My friend and I were so full as we both ordered two dishes.  Wow, we left drunk and utterly stuffed!

My friend Nicole and I.  Nicole just got engaged! Congrats Nic!!

Enjoy!  xoxo Julie

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for posting photos of the menu! I finally went after hearing they had a GF and finding/reading your post!


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