Sons of Essex gives popular gem across the street Beauty & Essex a run for its money. The two Lower East Side small plate centric restaurants are both accessible behind other stores such as a churro shop (SOE) and a pawn shop (B&E). However, Sons of Essex is a little more down to earth and less showy. The long wooden picnic tables and dim lighting made this an excellent choice for my birthday dinner, and it is ideal for big groups or parties of any occasion. Padma Lakshmi may or or may not have had her birthday here as well; hey, she has great taste! The menu is fun and mouthwatering offering different Grilled Cheese and Macaroni & Cheese options according to the day of the week. Thursday’s “Sons of a Bitch” Grilled Cheese is a mix of brie and goat cheese layered with Granny Smith Apples and Apple Butter smothered between thick Texas Toast bread helping to melt this crunchy beast perfectly. A little bowl of tomato soup is included for necessary dipping and added childhood flavor. All of the food was outstanding and overflowing with cheese. The eggplant was shocking and beats many Italian focused restaurant’s eggplant parm. The bar started to pick-up around 11 with a younger Brooklyn style/East Village crowd. I absolutely loved Sons of Essex despite the spotty service, and can’t wait to go back on a Wednesday to try the French Onion Macaroni & Cheese. Definitely bring your friends here for an exciting night!