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

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Hanjan

36 W 26th St. New York, NY 10010 • (212) 206-7226hanjan26.com

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This is Korean for the other half. The half that can’t be bothered with the manual labor of having to BBQ their food themselves. The half that likes a little ambiance and inventiveness. The half that doesn’t want a hybrid Mexican version of Korean sold off a truck. In other words, my half.

Sure there’s a time and a place for that kind of Korean, but it’s nice to see a cuisine extend itself into a more refined experience. Not that Hanjan is fancy by any stretch, but compared to the typical Korean haunts in the 30’s, it’s Per Se.

To start, I went with the spicy margarita because, as we know, I loves me a spicy cocktail. And while it’s certainly not bad, it’s nothing special either. Basically just a regular margarita dipped in chili powder as opposed to salt (cue Debbie Downer music).

As for food, we started with the crudité and while good, one can only get so excited about veggies on ice, which sounds like the worst theatrical ice skating show in history. But the sauce they serve it with has some serious kick, so if you’re into heat and freshly chilled plants, go for it.

Next came the squid and scallion pancake, which is more inventive than it is awesome. Only truly reaching its potential when you caught a hot pepper from the sauce it was served with, which was only about two bites in ten.

The short rib with stewed potatoes and onions came next and it was easily the best thing of the night. Fall off the bone moist. Bursting with flavor. I loved it so much I wanted to crawl into the bowl and spoon it.

Being that the short rib was a tough act to follow, the pork belly skewers, fell short. Not terrible or anything, but I wouldn’t order them again. That said, if you choose to get them, make a mental note that they are MUCH better without the recommended lettuce wrap.

And batting clean up was the brisket fried rice. It was good, but sounds much better than it is. The egg on top gets lost pretty quickly in the morass of other ingredients. As does the brisket. Again, glad I tried it, not something I would order again.

That said, I would definitely eat here again. Service was great and not one thing was bad. Plus, there are a ton of other things on the menu I wanted to try, so stay tuned for updates.

3 teeth