If there was ever a restaurant that was much better than it needed it to be, it’s Beauty & Essex, a glorious new dining hall in the heart of Hollywood from the TAO Group. It’s the first shot across Tinseltown for the well-established nightlife and vibe dining group from New York City that’s also opening Luchini, TAO, Avenue, and Highlight Room in the giant complex where the Dream Hotel will be situated. But Beauty & Essex comes first- though TAO had a brief preview ahead of a full opening. Beauty opened late last month in a gigantic 10,000 square foot complex that encapsulates the best aspects of its Lower East Side original- with the grandeur of its second Las Vegas outlet. Up front, a real-live collector’s shop with pricey jewelry and musical instruments that acts as a kind of trompe l’oeil entrance that opens up into various lounges and dining rooms.
The menu, conceived by Chris Santos, includes snackable bites like grilled cheese and tomato soup dumplings, tomato tartare, oven-braised meatballs, and tuna poke wonton tacos. Anyone familiar with the earlier and current versions of Faith & Flower will see a lot of inspiration here, with the faux antique decor- designed by Rockwell Group- to the clubstaurant fare…note that Beauty & Essex was kind of the original here. Still, TAO Group’s effort in Hollywood is perhaps even more ambitious, more breathtaking in its scope, and ultimately more of a strike to the heart of celebrity and nightlife culture in Los Angeles. www.beautyandessexla.comTags: Beauty & Essex, Culinary, Los Angeles, New York, Restaurants, Travel