8 West 58th Street
New York, NY 10019
• (212) 753-1200

If an expensive prostitute was a restaurant, she'd be Beautique. It's seductive, makes you feel sexy, is wrapped in velvet lingerie, is mostly fake, attracts businessmen, being inside costs a lot of money, and at no point will it be the best you've ever had.

Entering Beautique means walking in past the first of many characters pulled straight from central casting, a bouncer/doorman/linebacker, down a flight of mirrored stairs stolen from a Russian oligarch's yacht, into a loungey dining room filled mostly with men in suits talking about money or sports. The bartender occupied his time wiping glasses with a white napkin, Love Boat style. He was either extremely devout about keeping his glasses spotless or was ignoring me. I'm going with the latter. No way was I willing to cough up $19 for a martini, so I nursed a beer and took in the atmosphere while I waited for the arrival of Sparkles. Beside me sat a middle-aged woman, well into her second glass of wine. "I mean really! Look at this!" she said to her friend, pointing with not a little disgust at the fraying cushion of a bar stool. "This is unacceptable." 

Once it dawned on us that we were at a theme restaurant, Sparkles and I thoroughly got a kick out of the place. Our waiter was had a French accent so thick that he could make "rancid scallops served in a sewage broth" sound appealing. It almost didn't matter that he wasn't a very good waiter, dropping forks and getting the wine order wrong, because he was such a fun character. This was a show.

Every time I tried, a waiter walked by.
Sparkles ordered the Red and Yellow Beet Salad, lightly seasoned beets over a yogurt creme. What did the waiter think? "Eet eez amazeeng." I chose the Beautique Salad, radicchio, endive, Gorgonzola, candied pecans, apples, and figs. The sweetness of the figs and apples and candied pecans worked well with the bitterness of the radicchio and endive. I liked it more than Sparkles did and I don't know that I'd order it again, but it felt healthy and it certainly wasn't awful. We both enjoyed the beet salad and decided, for no real reason, to order a third appetizer to share, the 18 Month Prosciutto Di Parma & Burrata. A plate of meat. A slab of cheese. Some overly toasted bread. Did we enjoy it? Sure. Was this prosciutto better than other prosciutto I've had? Not really.

For her entree, Sparkles asked for the Branzino, served with leek, artichoke, and potato. "Amazeeng." I ordered the Chef's Beef Cut of the Day. What kind of steak is the cut of the day, we asked. "Beef. Eez delicious." Sparkles and I looked at each other. Yes, but the cut? "Eez like a filet, but not. Eez regular. And we slice for you. You weel love it." It arrived over a bed of corn, mushroom with an au jus sauce for dipping. It was fine, but not more than fine. The meat was particularly tough and I found myself fantasizing out loud about Morton's. The Branzino was much better. Crispy skin, very light. At the table next to us sat a couple who saw me snapping pics of the food. The couple had both ordered the Chicken entree, a skin-on breast with vegetables and a pea-puree. Once I mentioned the blog, the woman lit up. "Take a photo of my chicken! Want a bite? You should have a bite." Yes. Yes, I in fact did want a bite. Very much. But I held back and I will take her word that it was quite tasty.

Desserts usually stink, but this one, the Oreo Cheesecake with Oreo ice cream, was pretty good. Sure, it's small and I've had creamier cheesecakes, but it meant that you didn't leave feeling like you were about to explode.

Up to this point, Sparkles and I were had genuinely enjoyed our time at Beautique. It was a fun theme restaurant, where the theme is sugar daddy fakery; an over-the-top cliche of style over substance. Then the manager (or at least someone I assume was the manager) came up to me and broke one of the cardinal rules of being a business. Don't be an asshole to your customers. See, this whole time, I had taken Beautique to have been a gilded lily. I had assumed that it was in on the joke, a winking participant in the gag of excessive excess. That's why the average food and mediocre service was acceptable.

But no. The escort in the Prada gown confused herself with the socialite. Beautique had been taking itself seriously the whole time. As though dressing up as an admiral meant that one could automatically command an aircraft carrier, Beautique thought by putting on the uniform of a classy restaurant, that it somehow actually became one. That seriousness became apparent on my walk upstairs to the street when that manager sternly insisted that I delete all of the photos I'd taken of my meal.

"Yeah. You should know that's not going to happen."

Appetizers average $20, entrees average $35.

Beautique Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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