From heirloom jewelry to gently used electronics, you can find nearly anything at a pawn shop, though not food, which is odd considering that's exactly what people hawking their laser disc players are desperate for. Setting up just such a one-stop: Beauty & Essex
Hidden behind a semi-functioning -- you guessed it -- pawn shop lined with everything from KISS figurines to old books, the team behind Stanton Social's lavish new gustatory townhouse is split between a downstairs dining room marked by peacock feather decorations and a latticed metal skylight, and an upstairs lounge reachable via a spiral staircase that swirls around a giant crystal chandelier and a wall lined with horse hair, sadly not the only time during the night you'll pony up. Sticking to the small plate concept, things start with raw bar fare like chorizo-topped tuna sashimi and Kobe carpaccio w/ wasabi egg yolk, plus a nightly selection of crostinis (burrata, bone marrow...) called "Jewels on Toast", which unlike family jewels, your date will actually want to polish off. More substantial, meanwhile, are options including a garlic aioli & feta burger (w/ duck fat fries), chicken-fried oysters, truffle & wild mushroom'd braised chicken meatballs, and the mascarpone-sided Brick Pressed Chicken, but not Brick House Pressed chicken, as you can't press something that's letting it all hang out
If your woman can't sneak back any of the comped bubbly from the ladies room (!), you can nab a variety of thoughtful cocktails, from the vodka/lemon nectar/basil Emerald Gimlet, to the cinnamon tequila/antica vermouth Broken Blossoms, also what the band's called now after pawning everything to support their gin habit.
1. Beauty & Essex
146 Essex St, New York, NY 10002
Beauty & Essex is a multi-level clubby restaurant and bar from the folks behind LES brunch behemoth Stanton Social Club. The pawn shop facade opens into a glam dining room filled with a high-rolling clientele. The menu features trendy food like steak tartare, amped up avocado toast, and lobster tacos.