Having found my feet in New York, I knew it was time to get foodie. New York is one of the best places for food, except for London of course, although I might be a little bias there.
Over and over again I was told I was going to just be in absolute heaven because of my love for food. My trainer was beside himself with worry before I went as he knew I'd go overboard and eat everything glutenous and calorific- and yes he was right! But hey, it's New York, and life's too short.
Before I went I asked Twitter- come say hi- what would be a great restaurant for a really nice date night meal. Well I was inundated, but one that was mentioned again and again was Beauty and Essex.
We made our way to the Lower East Side, to what appeared to be a pawn shop. Filled with trinkets, jewelry and antiques, it was very un-restaurant like.
But at the back of the pawn shop is a unassuming door.
We pushed through to enter a very glamorous, upscale restaurant, with an early sixties vibe.
Beauty and Essex has a feast of a menu. The restaurant is a very social, glamourous one and it's menu reflects that. Small sharing plates of food that's influences are from all over the world.
There is a raw section for the uber trendy health conscious, items like Butter Poached Maine Lobster on toast, Thai Style Deep-Fried Shrimp, North Carolina style dry rub ribs and Spaghettini- a very diverse menu indeed.
But first cocktails. They make them good and strong. A perfect date night starter.
Finally choosing our plates, we were ready to get stuck in. Passing items to each other, dipping folks across the table, enthusiastically saying "Taste this babe!". It's the best way really.
We had ‘Chile Relleno’ Empanadas with poblano, manchego and jalapeño-lime crema.
Hot, cheesy, citrus tang based goodness. They were so so good. I wish I'd ordered another plate.
I also wished I'd order these again. Grilled Cheese, Smoked Bacon & Tomato Soup Dumplings. We both agreed these were just divine, so moreish, and the best dish we had that night.
I'm obsessed Mac and Cheese, so Lobster 'Mac & Cheese' with sicilian style bread crumbs was a must.
Bahn Mi Soft Tacos with pork confit, foie gras pate, taylor ham, midori sriracha and a rather delightful kewpie mayo.
We ordered BBQ fries, although I have to say I didn't really rate these.
But the onion rings more than made up for it, although it was a fight for the big ones at the bottom. Rather tactical nibbling.
Our final dish was Guianciale Pork Pizzetta with oven dried tomatoes and grana padano. A great crispy flat bread base with so much flavour.
There is a lot of hype around Beauty and Essex, as it draws a rather glamorous crowd, so it's always a worry it will be all style no substance yet I was pleasantly surprised the food is delicious and definitely has substance.
After dinner, we decided to head upstairs for a couple of drinks in the bar before we headed out.
The humongous chandelier was a thing of beauty. Not sure I could fit it in my flat though.
Upstairs is even more glamorous, but much more chilled with sofas in the bar lounge.
Now, there is one final, very fabulous element to Beauty and Essex. But sorry guys, this ones just for the girls.
Ladies, if you take a trip to the bathroom, there is a surprising waiting for you.
A champagne bar- and it's free!
Best idea ever? London are you listening?
Beauty and Essex was a real winner for me. I'd go again if I go back to New York which I'm sure I will. I feel like New York and me are meant to be.
146 Essex St,