Spring '17 Issue - Readers Choice Award Winners Announced & More

Monday, April 3, 2017

Merging Food and Style

Merging Food and Style

Beauty & Essex is one of the hottest new restaurants on The Strip

Story by Bob Gourley

  

It isn’t often that pawnshops and restaurants cross paths, but Beauty & Essex—a TAO Group Property—at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is an exception.

Not only do you encounter an upscale parlor of both old and new things for sale, including a Britney Spears doll, vintage guitars garnishing the wall, and lots of jewelry, but also the main door to the restaurant is situated at the left-rear corner of the shop.

Elegance is evident as you enter. Jewelry is hanging nearly everywhere on the walls and on the chandeliers. Classy, huge gold-silhouetted peacocks adorn earth-tone wall panels. Dining rooms, including the intimate private Vault room, offer spaces where visitors can dine in a jewelry-box inspired setting.

The restaurant is the brainchild of Owner/Chef Chris Santos who opened his first place in New York, and TAO Group. Located on Essex Street, he wanted to merge food with beautiful items, making it an instant hit. If his name sounds familiar, you may have watched him as a judge on the Food Network’s popular show “Chopped.” He’s so passionate about communal dining, as is clearly evident at his Vegas location, he recently released a cookbook entitled “Share.”

“Everything I serve is in a modern, family kind of way,” he says. “We encourage tables to order multiple dishes. It is almost as if we offer a casual version of what would be found in more of a white table cloth type of restaurant where you would find a tasting menu.” Unlike restaurants specializing in tapas, portions are adjusted here according to the number of people at the table so everyone gets a taste.

Front and center on the menu is the Raw Bar featuring an eclectic mix of cultures. For example, there’s the Orange Kissed Salmon Ceviche with jalapeño, mango, and a crispy corn tortilla, Littleneck Clams available in two sizes, and a hearty shrimp cocktail enhanced with charred jalapeño cocktail sauce.

One of the signature dishes is Grilled Cheese, Smoked Bacon, and Tomato Soup Dumplings. Delivered on large spoons, the delicate dumplings melt in your mouth and the hint of bacon blends flawlessly with the tomato soup. A mound of kale and apple salad arrive with a collection of pancetta, candied pecans, and shaved goat cheese.

Not to be missed are picks from the Jewels on Toast fare. Delicious shellfish tucked into a sweet potato bao is a bounty for seafood lovers. Greek Toast is a collection of tomato, cucumber, feta, mint, and black olive salt.

After a couple of appetizers it is time to indulge in the next round of tastes, including Oven-Braised Chicken Meatballs. Much lighter than most because of the more-delicate texture of chicken, these morsels are delivered with sheep’s milk ricotta, wild mushrooms, and truffle. Elote-Style Scallops offer a hint of spice, as they are prepared with chipotle, lime, and cilantro sitting on top of a charred corn salad. The kernels taste as if they had just been separated from the cob. Spaghettini is a creative affair with zucchini, lemon, parsley pesto, Parmigiano, and a sunny-side up egg.

Meat eaters will enjoy a slate of choices tantalizing the taste buds. There are grilled double cut lamb chops with port wine glaze and a 14-ounce dry-aged sirloin. House-made steak sauces include red chimichurri, green peppercorn hollandaise, plus roasted garlic, and bacon.

Everyone will enjoy one or more of their shareable desserts. A spiked root beer float shot has a kick to it with Best Damn Root Beer and funfetti ice cream. “Les, nyc” Doughnuts create a light, airy memory with a generous coating of sugar, with dark chocolate fudge, berry, and caramel sauces as fancy dip mates. Who doesn’t like to indulge in a pot de crème? This version is butterscotch-flavored with coconut Chantilly.

A comfortable lounge area is the perfect place to enjoy a unique cocktail. The Woodsman is a prime example. Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Allspice Dram, maple syrup, lemon, and muddled pears come together beautifully in this one. Their version of the classic mojito is melon-flavored with Mount Gay Eclipse and Bacardi 8 Year Rums, Zonin Prosecco, melon nectar, mint, and lime. Sangria packs a mild punch and wines by the glass include Achaval Ferrer Malbec from Argentina and Campo Viejo Tempranillo from Spain.

According to our amazing waitress Marisa who offered some terrific suggestions on the menu, most of the staff has been at the restaurant since they opened in May of last year. Even with large crowds they operate to perfection.

Beauty & Essex is just one of the prestigious restaurants that will serve samples at the inaugural Audi Henderson Lake Las Vegas Classic. Fans can’t wait to see what treasures they will deliver. Visit www.lakelasvegasclassic.com for more information.

 

Beauty & Essex

At The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas

702-737-0707

www.beautyandessex.com

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