Bubbly & Gold for Brunch
By Helaina Hovitz The champagne brunch at Beauty & Essex is a light and delicious experience Has your inner child ever woken up on a Saturday morning and said, "Gee, I'd really love to have cupcakes for breakfast?" Now, as a responsible adult - and a fancy, trendy adult at that - you can get away with it, 'cause they're disguised as mini-waffles. At Beauty & Essex's new Saturday Champagne Brunch for two, $75 gets you a bottle of champagne and a choice of one option each from a four-course prix fare menu, including Red Velvet Waffles. I'm convinced that this is definitely cupcake batter poured into a waffle maker, but I'm not complaining. Also on the menu is Homemade Yogurt the consistency of soft butter, served with flaky granola, blueberries and plump dried fruits. The Free Range Scrambled Eggs on toast are a delicate, more sophisticated (and prettier) version of a sloppy breakfast sandwich, drizzled with thin whisps of cheese and delivered in bite sized pieces. The "New York Pretzel," salty toast topped with spicy peppercorn mustard and shaved NY strip (roast beef), is just plain delicious. If you're looking for a post-Friday night lumberjack breakfast, this obviously isn't the place to go, but if you're particularly hungry on a Saturday, round out your pre-fix order with the Skillet Roasted Potatoes and Fried Chicken Biscuit Bites, which are filling.
Mini one-bite cupcakes decorated with glistening balls and microscopic gold stars for desert were almost too pretty to eat. Almost. What I particularly love about this place (part of the larger Tao restaurant group) is that they recently joined the WHOLE WORLD Water Campaign, which encourages members of the hospitality and tourism industry to filter, bottle, and sell their own water in sustainable glass bottles. The initiative provides universal access to drinking water and basic sanitation to those who don't have it, and helps to eliminate plastic waste.
I also appreciated the fact that waiters leave a vase full of ice cold water at your table - every girl knows that one of the secrets to staying beautiful all summer is to be well hydrated.
The space itself is gorgeous, as per its reputation - disguised as a pawn shop on the exterior, a second set of doors give way to a breathtaking, two-level restaurant, lounge, and bar. Everything glitters, from the chandeliers dripping with jewels to the shimmering gold paint on the walls and peacock feathers adorning side tables. Sounds like a recipe for garishness, but their artful use of the ingredients is instead quite glamorous.
For an extra shot of beautification, try and snag a table under the glass rooftop - we all look stunning in natural sunlight.
Indeed, "Beauty" is in no short supply at this Saturday brunch spot - and if "Essex" were a noun, I'm sure it'd live up to that, too.
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