Last year I spent my birthday with my wife at Estela and had a great evening. This year I also spent it in New York again it seemed obvious to return to Estela. What can I say I like traditions.
The restaurant is one of the few casual restaurants that have had success on The Worlds 50 Best list. From the street it is like any other New York restaurant with a narrow entrance leading you upstairs. The restaurant is dominated by a big bar, closely located tables and loud background music providing.
The first dish was an amazing tartare. Just great quality meat with very crispy deep-fried Jerusalem artichoke, a few pickled herbs served on sourdough bread. Others have made a tartare using similar ingredients but here it was somehow lifted to another level. Possible because the Jerusalem artichoke kept its flavor very good.
Another level is also a good description of the creamy burrata cheese with basil, olive oil and a juice that had just a bit of chili with helped go balance to the dish. Another simple dish with great flavors.
I thought that the next dish was the weakest of the meal. Clams with a charred peppers juice. IT was nice and simple as the rest of the dishes it just wasn’t amazing.
My personal presence is seafood and vegetables, so it is rare that a meat course is the highlight of the meal. But something as simple as a pork chop with different mushrooms simply blew me away. The pork was extremely juicy, and the mushrooms was an AMAZING match. It takes an extremely skilled chef to make so few and well plain and “ordinary” ingredients taste this amazing.
Lamb ribs with charmoula and honey. The lamb was crispy, and the meat was very juicy but it was still no way capable of living up to the lasts dish. The curse of having that good dishes on the menu.
This dessert is one of my all-time favorite desserts. It is so simple and yet so good. It consists of a simple panna cotta with honey and a bit of vinegar. The vinegar of course plaid a crucial part in balancing the dish so it is not too sweet. Simplicity is extremely hard but when done right it is amazing and this is really the case for this dessert. Trust me the picture does not do its justice.
For me Estela is a restaurant that showcases simplicity and great flavors which shows amazing skills by head chef Ignacio Mattos. I like the relaxed feel of the restaurant making it a place both suitable for a night out with my wife while at the same time being a place where I would feel comfortable dropping by for a single course or two. At this price point if I lived in the neighborhood I know I would drop by at least once a month. It may not be on every foodie to do list when in New York, but it should be. At least it is on mine.