Chef and Entrepreneur Chris Santos has made a name for himself as an authority on fine food. Having honed his craft at Wyanoka, Suba and The Stanton Social, Santos has brought his worldly palette back to the Lower East Side; in a gem of a restaurant hidden away behind a working pawnshop. That place is Beauty & Essex. The food is delicious, the surroundings are decadent.
Beauty & Essex is a speakeasy palace. Once past the pawnshop entrance, you’re in a grand lobby with a view of the main dining room and a spiral staircase leading up to more opulent surroundings: the Pearl Lounge and the Locket Room. Exactly what it says on the tin; the Pearl Lounge features a canopy of thousands of pearls, while the Locket Room showcases dozens of lockets of all shapes and size.
And while each room is distinctly different, the overall theme is the same: Opulence, extravagance (the waitstaff is dressed to the nines) and excellent food. The signature vibe is the work of Managing Partner Peter Kane; who has spared no expense in creating a very welcoming environment.
On the menu, there’s no shortage of things to love. Tasting the Oven Braised Chicken Meatballs, drizzled with ricotta and wild mushrooms, one guest was overheard to shout, “Oh my god!” This was no overstatement; the meatballs are sumptuous and addictive.