When someone says brunch, I think Essex. The brunch behemoth has long since established its domination in the world of cocktails and
dreams eggs, stealing the hearts of brunch-o-philes everywhere. What’s surprising is that their dinner offerings, as well as the specials every weeknight, are good enough to give their brunch a run for its money. Is there anything Essex can’t do?! I think it’s only fair that this LES spot (Essex @ Rivington) gets the full write up on ALL of its dining splendors.
We all know I heart brunch hard, so let’s get this out of the way… $22.95 gets you 3 cocktails including bloodies, mimosas and screw drivers – they’re VERY lenient on the 3 and will often refill you mid-drink (whoops, we lost count…) The space is huge with 2 well-lit balconies in addition to the main seating area and the crowd is very sceney (read: good looking people). The dishes are all awesomely eclectic featuring south of the border faves fused with traditional Jewish cuisine (Mexican Matzoh Brie?! I’m in!), tons of vegetarian (+vegan) friendly options, as well as many other well-executed breakfast classics. Some FYIs: brunch is cash only and they take reservations, which is just fabulous.
Now moving on to dinner… Essex is still a hot scene at night and with ½ off all cocktails Sunday-Thursday from 6-9pm, there’s no guesswork as to why that might be (the The Green Zinger ($11) w/Green Tea Vodka, Pimm’s, Mint + Lime is AWESOME and the Jalapeno Margaritas ($10) are spicy heaven). Oh and did I mention $1 Oysters all night as well? Right, well there you go. Other menu items that give me a heart-on include the Warm Goat Cheese Salad ($8) w/roasted beets, walnuts & arugula and the Seared Diver Scallops ($11), served over croutons, watermelon, roasted peaches & basil. Oh.Em.Gee. As far as entrees go, I could always eat the Manchego Mac-n-Cheese ($13) but what I should be eating is the DELISH Wasabi Crusted Atlantic Salmon ($19).
So I’ve told you about brunch and I’ve mentioned dinner, but next word association game: I say “Wednesday,” you think “LOBSTER.” Every Wednesday night Essex is offering up 1¼ lb Maine Lobsters served alongside potatoes and corn on the cob for only $18. I had never taken on a whole lobster so luckily I had a bold friend there to show me the ropes. While I’ve decided I’m more of a claws and tails gal, at this pricing, I’ll be going back again and again.
Next time you’re stuck on where to eat, chances are Essex will go over real well with your fellow diners. That is, unless they don’t like excellent food, great deals on cocktails and, oh yeah, lobster for under 20 bones. They do excellent private events (with premium open bar!) as well – to book your very own secret society dinner, email PreferredDiners@gmail.com. This one’s a no brainer, kids. Get over to Essex, stat.