Tao Group’s third Beauty & Essex restaurant has opened in the heart of Hollywood. Chef Chris Santos’ newest pawn shop/restaurant/lounge concept bookends (with Tao lounge/restaurant on the other side) the new Dream Hotel, which is scheduled to open in fall 2017.
The new 10,000-square-foot complex includes a front pawn-inspired retail shop filled with guitars, vintage jewelry, art, and other collectables. Diners enter through the shop, which leads to a variety of lounges and dining rooms.
The downstairs lounge, which features purple suede bar chairs, gold and crystal light fixtures and burgundy love seats and couches, flows into an intimate outdoor courtyard with overhead twinkle lights and candles. The main dining room is dark and grand and includes elegant pearl-decked chandeliers, wall art featuring twirling ballerinas, antique décor, cozy beige leather sofas, round wood tables, and a 20-foot oval skylight.
Venture up the winding staircase to find another bar and smaller dining area adorned with mirrors and jewelry, as well as a romantic outdoor patio perfect for late night-drinks and desserts.
Santos’ globally inspired menu includes a raw bar with salmon ceviche, tuna poke wonton tacos, steak tartare, sashimi, oysters, and a huge seafood platter. There’s also plenty of toasts to try including chicken skin and garlic; avocado; tomato panzanella; deviled eggs; and chicken liver mousse. Standout sharable plates include chile relleno empanadas, grilled cheese and tomato soup dumplings and Thai deep fried shrimp. Mains include braised chicken meatballs, Mexican street corn ravioli, scallop and pork belly surf and turf, honey sake-cured Chilean sea bass, double cut lamb chops, and a bone-in ribeye.
Desserts are decadent and fun. Must-tries include the root beer milkshake shot, devil’s food layer cake and a peanut butter pretzel, brownie, popcorn ice cream and brown butter caramel sundae.
The cocktail menu is divided into sweet and savory including a melon mojito; the Bubbles and Berries with Champagne, vodka, St. Germain, and strawberries; Old Dirty Bramble with tequila, smoked blackberries, honey, ginger, and lemon; The Woodsman with bourbon, Allspice dram, maple syrup, and muddled pears; and Green With Envy with cucumber-infused vodka, St. Germain, grapefruit juice, and habanero.