Beauty & Essex

3708 S Las Vegas Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89109 • (702) 737-0707 • beautyandessexlv.com

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Okay, so it’s not the real deal and merely a fabricated replica of the one in New York, but it is Vegas, which means pretty much everything is a fabricated replica of something else with the exception of sand. So put aside any delusions of authenticity and you will very likely find yourself as pleased as punch (let’s make that rum punch, after all, it is Vegas).

Located in the chic Cosmopolitan Hotel on the third floor (as opposed to Essex St. in Manhattan), you will find a pawnshop by the same name, which doubles as a speakeasy entrance through a nondescript turquoise door to the left of the counter. Upon entering you will find yourself swept into a time vortex landing you smack dab in the roaring twenties, complete with a brocade decor and twin, blond, 6-foot bombshell- flappers who cavort around the restaurant and bar along with a parade of burlesque hotties.

Surprisingly, this isn’t to distract you form the food, because almost everything was excellent. That said, it might be distracting to the servers, because I found the service to be a bit sloppy.

The excellent menu of which I speak is made up of shareable small plates, along with a decent list of cocktails and wine. And while most everything was good, there were a few dishes I would steer around such as the lobster roll, which was the only bad thing of the night, served on a warm bun, but filled with canned or even fake lobster meat. Not cool.

The other two dishes I would skip are not what I would call bad, but they don’t exactly pass mustard for me either. For example much better yellowtail sashimi in ponzu sauce with chili peppers can be found at Blue Ribbon Sushi in the very same hotel or at Sushi Roku down the strip. And the French Onion Soup Dumplings are nowhere near as good as the ones at Stanton Social in NYC, nor are they comparable to some of the other stars of the night.

But enough of the Debbie Downers and on to the stars, like both tartars- the steak and the tomato tartars are so good I don’t know which one I liked better and obviously very different from one another so it’s kind of hard to even compare them even though they are both “tartars.” They are also served differently, the steak is done more like a tartine and the tomato more like an hors d’oeuvres. Both, however, are worth doubling down on.

The bone marrow is also superb and only bested by one other dish for me, the Spicy Lamb Bolognese. Made with penne and some serious Italian game this pasta just might’ve been the best thing of the night- no, the best thing I had all week in Vegas. Not too shabby for twin, amazon, blond, bombshell, flappers. Can you tell they left an impression?

4 teeth

The Pink Door

1919 Post Alley. Seattle, WA 98101(206) 443-3241thepinkdoor.net

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Located in a pseudo alley and marked with very little signage, save the actual color of the door (which is obviously pink), the place makes you feel like you are entering a sex dungeon. Especially as you head down the stairs into an intimately lit, high-ceiling dining space adorned with various types of trapeze equipment hanging above the tables. Apparently there is a correlation between colored doors and hedonistic things lying behind them. The Green Door, for those old enough to remember, had porn behind it and The Pink Door has, well… burlesque trapeze (pictured). Which is naturally the first thing you think of when you think Italian cuisine. The Italians being well known for their burlesque- oh, wait… Sorry, that’s the French. But trapeze- okay, also French. So I’m not exactly sure why the European mash-up, but I have to say I dug the vibe.

I also dug the fact that as a walk-in, they didn’t screw me with a table by the wait station. Quite the contrary, they gave me the best table in the restaurant, outside on the patio, in a corner, offset from everyone else, with an amazing view of the water and Mt. Rainier.

Another pleasant surprise was the 2013 Va Piano Sauvignon Blanc by the glass from Wala Wala, Washington. Not only was it one of the best Sauvignon Blancs I’ve ever had, it was one of the best whites I’ve ever had offered by the glass. And let’s be honest, there’s a third plus as well… it’s just fun to say Wala Wala, Washington.

Unfortunately, the food didn’t hold up to the preamble. The asparagus, while decent, gained nothing from the crispy prosciutto and hard boiled egg crumble, because both are served in such minimal proportion that I didn’t even get the point.

They made up for it though, with a salmon special that was very good. Served over a cauliflower and fennel puree, with broccolini, morels and roasted grape tomatoes. Not very Italian, but I think that ship kinda sailed. And at least it was healthy, clean cookin.’

But easy come easy go, because after making it up to me on the entrée, they royally shat the bed on dessert. The oatmeal crisp was so atrocious there was nothing crisp about it, soggy like a bowl of cereal sitting in milk for over an hour. Quite possibly the worst I’ve ever had.

And while I would love to stay mad at The Pink Door for wasting my money on that dessert, I have to give it up to them for the free dinner theater, bizarre as it might be. Starting with an Elvira-looking vamp, decked out in black chiffon, traipsing through the restaurant like she was Lady Godiva or something. Then, right their in the middle of the restaurant, she climbs aboard one of the trapeze swings hanging from the ceiling and proceeds to writhe on this thing like Josephine Baker while people attempt to still eat their meals beneath her. Not since Señor Tango in Buenos Aires have I ever had a dining experience like this. And for that, I have to commend The Pink Door. Thank you for making me feel like I was on another planet. A distinction not many restaurants can achieve. Which is probably a good thing.

3 teeth