Beauty & Essex

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Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson
Beauty and Essex
Lower East Side
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Chef Chris Santos (Stanton Social) brings his globally inflected small plates to an another AvroKO-designed fantasyland on the Lower East Side. A curated thrift store in front hawks vintage jewelry, boom boxes and guitars; a gigantic one-story crystal chandelier fronts a grand, curving staircase; and the main dining room opens up under a massive skylight. Though the interior aims to dazzle, the food offers comforting flavors—grilled cheese and tomato soup dumplings, and mains like braised veal short ribs with a tangerine-BBQ glaze and onion rings. To drink there are updates on cocktail classics, like the B&E Pink Lady (gin, house-made grenadine, lemon, applejack), but freebie seekers might want to head to the bathroom, where a bartender slings gratis flutes of bubbly.
Venue name: Beauty & Essex
Contact:
Address: 146 Essex St
New York
10002
Cross street: between Rivington and Stanton Sts
Opening hours: Daily 5pm–1am
Transport: Subway: F to Delancey St; J, Z, M to Delancey–Essex Sts
Price: Average main course: $18. AmEx, Disc, MC, V

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Bernie

My boyfriend and I went to Beauty and Essex on 22 February for dinner. We had a reservation for 7.30pm but we went to the wrong part of town so we rang beforehand to say that we'd be late. The person on the phone said that they couldn't hold the table for us any longer, which was fine by us; so we got there and just waited at the reception area. Now, I flew into New York from London the night before, so I was rather jet-lagged and was leaning against the reception desk. A man then came up to us and warned us that we may be asked to leave, but ironically, right after he walked away, a waitress came up to us and sat us down at a table. We ordered our food and started eating - everything was fine, except that a certain waitress (with red hair) was serving us with a certain degree of attitude. So my boyfriend asked to speak to that girl, and several asks later she finally came back to our table. She started slanting us for not wanting to tip (we hadn't even started speaking and tipping wasn't even in our agenda), and said "I'm just going to walk away now" - and so she did. My boyfriend then got up and went to speak to the manager, who refused to give us her name, and complained about what just happened with the red-haired waitress. Her reply was "whatever happened it's done now, so why don't you go back to your table and enjoy dinner with your boyfriend". He came back to the table, and after finding out what had happened, I managed to get her attention again when she walked past, and I tried my luck again to express our dissatisfaction with the previous waitress. She said that I was "raising my voice" - I'm pretty sure that everyone who's been to this place would know about the vibe, it was all Jay Z-blasting there. Hence, I was only trying to make myself heard over the music. She then brought us the bill when we hadn't even asked for it. When my boyfriend went to the washroom, he even had the privilege of the bouncer's company, who also escorted us out of the restaurant. I came to New York only for a week, to visit my boyfriend. That was the first proper sit-down meal of my stay. I'm a PR professional from London, and reputed restaurants like this one, are no novelty to me. All in all, this experience was beyond humiliating to me for so many different reasons. I am writing this email merely hours after the unfortunate incident and I can assure you that I'm still scarred. Worst restaurant experience I've ever had in my entire life.