BEAUTY & ESSEX
I’d picked the Actress up at LaGuardia – she had just returned from her bi-annual exhaustion retreat – and she said there’s a place she simply insisted on trying.
We arrive in the Lower East Side to a big sign reading “Beauty & Essex” in bright bulb lettering that looks like it was previously on the set of “The Price Is Right.” So, already, I’m thinking “classy joint!”
With my date by my side we stride in and see… a wall of guitars? I look around and notice a bunch of jewelry in the window. How on earth did we end up at a pawn shop? I think Yutzi previously sold a sword at this place.
The lady behind the counter quickly sensed my confusion and asked if we have reservations, and pointed us to a back door.
We walk in, and man is this place swank. Luxurious chandeliers, spiral staircases, lovely…what are those couches called… banquets? Ah, that doesn’t sound right.
Anyway, whatever they’re called, they’re filled to the brim with dames in short skirts and high heels, surrounded by strapping men in fine blazers. I can already feel my wallet crying in agony.
Before getting sat, I take a gander at the drink menu…14 dollars for a cocktail! I order up an “Old Dirty Bramble”, whatever that means, as the Actress goes downstairs to powder her schnoz. The bartender was friendly, and makes a mean drink. Mulled smoked blackberries? I’m loving life.
We get sat, right as my date returned from the can with a glass of pink champagne, which she said was handed to her by a bathroom attendant. I ran downstairs to see if they were doling out bourbon in the little boy’s room, but nothing doing.
Anyway, this was also a bit of foreshadowing, because I’m pretty sure most of the food came from the toilet too.
Godammit! Wrong photo…
First let’s talk about my appetizer. I had no idea Hormel made carpaccio. This flavorless batch of commodity meat was enhanced with what I think was crunched up Funyuns and leafy greens from a Chia pet, and served up to a sucker like me for $15.
Then came the Thai-influenced lobster pot pie, which was served in a crock pot that looked like a poodle’s dog bowl. I dig in and the whole top crust comes off like it was a manhole cover. Now, I admit they were generous with the chunks of the good stuff, but for 25 smackaroos, I want to see a lobster doing a goddamn backstroke in here. Instead I’m trawling through bisque like the Gorton’s Fisherman for any meaty morsel I can find, even though its so heavily infused with lemongrass, you’d think the recipe called for Pledge. Cheapskates didn’t even put crust at the bottom of the pie, just the giant confessional wafer at the top. Meanwhile, the Actress made about 7 trips to the bathroom.
Walking out I finally ask The Actress how we ended up at this ridiculous place. She said it was recommended to her by the stewardess on her flight. She said it was “trendy” and that Kim Kardashan likes to go here. Is that that broad with the big ass? Ay yi yi, I’d let her pound my carpaccio.
Anyway, the lesson here, folks: don’t take advice on restaurants from a person who passes out bags of peanuts for a living.
Beauty & Essex, 146 Essex St., New York, NY