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Beauty & Essex

Yeah, that's right. Kim Kardashian. Who needs a photo of the restaurant when you've got Kim on the red carpet from opening night? By the way, what the f*ck is she wearing? Is she boarding a spaceship? I am going to hate this place.

It's amazing how one photo can really sum a place up. Beauty & Essex opened in December, just down the street from the owner's first establishment, Stanton Social. Some restaurants celebrate their opening by inviting friends and family, others hope that TMZ shows up. Looks like they did a pretty good job showing off all the famous people they know (paid).

Clearly, what I am getting at is that Beauty & Essex is a spectacle. One of almost unprecedented proportion. This place is ridiculous. Like a ground level Boom Boom Room with food and slightly poorer people. The idea is that you walk into what sort of looks like a pawn shop, and the door opens into a massive, luxurious mega restaurant. There are two levels, two huge dining rooms, and three bars. One of which is in the women's bathroom, and pours free champagne for all the ladies. Seriously. We didn't believe it either until we saw a bunch of girls stumble out with half empty glasses and crooked lipstick. Then we checked out the men's room hoping to find some free beers or something, and it might as well have been two buckets and a stack of paper towels in there. I guess they know who to keep happy.

But you want to know the worst part about it all? The food is actually pretty good. It's easy to tee up on a place like this when the food sucks (see Standard Grill), but we honestly can't hate on the meals we had at Beauty & Essex. You'll find a creative menu with a lot of options, none of which will be written up in Saveur anytime soon, but most good enough to impress even your drunkest friends. We actually had a steak that could qualify as excellent. See how mature we're being? We're not even going to complain about how ridiculously expensive everything is. Gotta pay for those fur lined walls somehow.

Food Rundown

Chicken Fried Oysters
We'll start this food rundown strong. These fried oysters were great, and came served atop apple and bacon braised spinach that tasted like collard greens. A little bit southern and a lot delicious.

Grilled Flatbread
A decent pizza type thing with a super thin crust. What it's topped with seems to rotate, but on our visit there was bacon, apples and some Maytag blue cheese. Not bad, but you can do better.

Thai Lobster Bisque Dumplings
I suppose this is a play on soup dumplings, with Thai flavors. Not the most amazing dumpling we've ever had, but you probably won't be mad at it - as long as you don't care about the price tag.

Braised Short Rib Tamales
We like short ribs. We like tamales. No brainer.

Bone Marrow
Roasted bone marrow, toast, marmalade. This might have earned Beauty & Essex a whole rating point. Order it.

If you're going for an entree at Beauty & Essex, go for a steak. Otherwise, don't bother and stick to the small plates. Our waiter was pushing a steak on us hard, to the point where we just assumed he was hoping to jack the bill up. He was not. The filet we had was excellent. And it comes with four dipping sauces, which we're always down with. Split one for the table.

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