Chef Chris Santos and the Tao Group have opened Beauty & Essex at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hotel. Housed in the old Comme Ça location, the 10,000-square-foot restaurant has room for 230 diners and an additional 90 seats in the bar and lounge area. The entrance is through a pawn shop that sells guitars, jewelry, and vintage goods.
Inside, guests are seated in one of five dining spaces decorated in a jewelry motif with lots of mirrors, fake pearl necklaces, vintage boxes, gold accents, silk brocade panels, and purple banquettes.
Cocktails are categorized as sweet or savory and include a melon mojito; Old Dirty Bramble with tequila, smoked blackberries, honey, ginger, and lemon; Bubbles & Berries with Champagne, vodka, St. Germain, and strawberries; and The Woodsman with bourbon, Allspice Dram, maple syrup, and pears. There are also tasty mocktails and drinks including a mint lemonade, red currant ice tea, and the Platinum Peacock with cucumber, apple, pineapple, and mint.
Beauty & Essex is designed for a large group. Start with the sharable appetizers, and be sure to over-order the tuna poke wonton tacos, yellowtail sashimi, shrimp cocktail, and the seafood tower.
Santos is known for his signature toasts, and the Las Vegas location is no different. The Caesar with crispy chicken skin and creamy garlic is perfect, and the avocado and lemon nails the avo-toast trend.
Main dish highlights include the dishes that launched Santos into the spotlight: two variations on soup dumplings — French onion soup and grilled cheese and tomato soup. There’s also short rib mac and cheese, sea bass tacos, and chile relleno empanadas, but make sure to grab at least one order of dumplings.
Desserts include the cloud nine s’mores, a dark chocolate torte with pecan graham cracker crumble, marshmallow, and chocolate sauce; devil’s food cake; peanut butter pie sundae; and strawberry shortcake bars with liquid cheesecake, white chocolate, and Cap’n Crunch cereal.
Beauty & Essex is currently offering “The World is Your Oyster and You Are the Pearl” promotion that serves four people eight signature dishes. Guests finish the meal by picking out a pearl necklace from the adjoining pawn shop-inspired space.