I try not to break the bank when I travel, but I always make sure to give myself one free pass per trip. This means I get to splurge on something that I really want to experience. When I went to Europe, it was skydiving from a helicopter in Switzerland. When I went to New York last August, it was a feast at Beauty and Essex, a really cool speakeasy in the Lower East Side.

Back during Prohibition, speakeasies were establishments that illegally sold alcohol, usually in a secret bar that was hidden somewhere on the premises. Even though Prohibition has long been over (thank god!), there are plenty of modern-day speakeasies still rocking the NYC streets.Beauty Elixir from Beauty and Essex in New York

NJ and I had to do a double take when we first saw Beauty and Essex, since it didn’t look like a fine dining restaurant from the outside. Even when you enter the front door, all you see is a pawnshop with glass cases filled with vintage jewelry and other knick-knacks. We were told to go through the back door if we were after some grub.

Beauty and Essex restaurant, New York

Stepping through that door was very much like going through the wardrobe and landing in Narnia. Crystal chandeliers hung above round wooden tables with leather-backed seats. Giant peacock feathers sprouted out of golden vases. Beauty and Essex was dim, elegant and emanating cool from its pores.

Roasted bone marrow at Beauty and Essex Lobster tacos from Beauty and Essex

And the food was amazing! We started with the melt in your mouth Roasted Bone Marrow with braised shallot marmalade and buttered bread. I couldn’t resist the Lobster Tacos, which was made with sweet beer battered Maine lobster and finished with a spicy poblano crema.

Beauty Elixir from Beauty and Essex in New York

Did I mention that I had a cocktail, too? I sipped on the Beauty Elixir, a refreshing gin, cucumber and strawberry drink topped with sparkling rose.

Brick Pressed Chicken from Beauty and Essex

New York Steak from Beauty and Essex

Steak sauces for Beauty and Essex

Fries from Beauty and Essex

For my main, I had the amazing Brick Pressed Chicken on a bed of creamy mascarpone polenta, while NJ got her NY Steak fix. Her dish came with four house sauces, including an amazing white truffle cream sauce. We also grabbed perfectly crisped fries because we obviously have eyes bigger than our stomachs lol

Mini Rhubarb and Strawberry Tarts from Beauty and Essex

Molten Chocolate Banana Bread from Beauty and Essex

Since we were going all out, we grabbed dessert despite being super full. We shared sweet Mini Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts and an extremely decadent Molten Chocolate Bread Pudding.

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One Comment

  1. Posted February 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    that meal looks amazing! i only when for cocktail and apps when i was there — need to go back for dinner on the next trip!

    totes had the beauty elixir as my drink too :)