Beauty & Essex is a huge (300 seater) dining space with an entrance that looks like a pawn shop. Although it opened in NYC in late 2010 it is still very popular with large groups and late night diners. I have had great food and service there every time I have gone with a large group since it opened. The couple of times that I have gone as part a smaller group, the food was not Beauty & Essex’s best and the service was distracted. May be Beauty & Essex focuses on large groups and reaps the benefits of the mandatory service charge :-)
At Beauty & Essex, Executive Chef Chris Santos (Stanton Social) and Chef de cuisine Sarah Nelson turn out fantastic dishes including many vegetarian ones (a few can be made vegetarian, if you so request while placing the order). The last time I went to Beauty & Essex, I did not take my regular camera and had to rely on my phone camera, which did not do a bad job, considering the incredibly low lighting in the restaurant.
The vegetarian options that were delicious this time were the kale and apple salad (without pancetta), the chili salted Chinese long beans, avocado on toast, whipped ricotta on toast, and the spaghettini. Among the non-vegetarian options, we got the flash seared tuna and the grilled cheese, smoked bacon and tomato soup dumplings. The cocktails at Beauty & Essex are great too!
I would go back to Beauty & Essex with a large group and / or late evening (they are open every night until 1 AM). What was your experience like when you dined at Beauty & Essex in NYC?