New York hot spot Beauty & Essex will take its place among the Cosmopolitan’s restaurant collection in 2016. Located in the former Comme Ça footprint, the Tao Group venture will be the first addition to the P3 Commons pantheon since the resort’s 2010 debut.
I recently checked out the original Lower East Side restaurant/lounge on a particularly crowded Saturday night, which from all accounts, is nothing out of the ordinary. Even around 10:30 p.m., the wait for a table with a reservation was more than 30 minutes. However drinking and people watching in the bar was a pastime paradise. Beauty & Essex was littered with models, socialites, clubkids, frat boys and tourists collectively creating the raucous tempo apropos of a spot “powered by a DJ and share plates”—the critical vibe-dining “recipe.”
Killing time—and a few drinks—I hit the pawnshop. Yes, a pawnshop fronts the place, and it’s not just a design gimmick, but also a bonafide place to hawk and buy goods, including guitars, gold chains, Loubs and other ephemera. Whether that enhancement will make it to the Vegas iteration remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a conversation starter, so let’s hope so.
When my table was ready, I was escorted back through the pawnshop into the lustrous, earthy-hued, long dining room that sits in stark contrast to the place’s seedy, grimy façade. From the exterior, it’s almost impossible to believe this labyrinth of decadence exists within. But chef Chris Santos’ menu is not short on creativity: grilled cheese and smoked tomato soup dumplings, pastrami-style beef carpaccio and chipotle duck chilaquiles are just a few of the many interesting dishes I tried.
I do wonder if perhaps the menu will undergo a bit of Vegas-ifying to simplify the options for diners who will undoubtedly hit this sister spot before heading to Marquee Nightclub. But since I was in New York on this occasion and not Vegas, I headed upstairs to the Pearl Lounge (bedecked in what else?) to continue the evening at this “one-stop” nightspot.