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Beauty & Essex, Chef Chris Santos' Modern American at 146 Essex Street, Lower East Side - Owned by Tao Group in England


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My cousin booked Beauty and Essex for our family brunch gathering.  I think my cousin hates breakfast food as much as me, so he found a place with a large diverse menu and we ordered quite a lot of food.  The dishes are meant to be shared and our waiter offered to adjust the dish size to accommodate our large group, but we assured him it wasn't necessary.  Chinese people are used to sharing, even a single grain of rice can be shared by an entire village.

The red velvet waffles won the approval of both my daughters.  We also had crispy fish tacos, chicken fried steak, fried chicken biscuit, frittata espanol, chilaquiles, brunch pizzetta, everything bagel & lox pizzetta, kale & apple salad, and Brussels sprouts and Serrano ham on toast.

I would note that the chicken fried steak were hockey puck shaped croquettes of braised short-rib, topped with McMuffin like eggs.  That was a distinctly weak dish.  Otherwise the dishes are decent to tasty, though not meant to be authentic, e.g., I thought the frittata was too sweet and the chilaquiles not crunchy enough.

The restaurant is fronted by a pawn shop.  The vibe is hip but the service is friendly yet professional.  This place won't win any Michelin stars but it is a fun place to go with a group of food obsessed people.

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