BY Lisa Lindblad
December 9, 2014
I had no idea, when I climbed the narrow steps to Estela located on Houston and Mott, that chef Ignacio Mattos was Uruguayan born. That information would have made me well-disposed to the food if all else failed. But my dinner was such an overwhelmingly delicious affair that no provenance was needed.
Impossible to get a reservation in this narrow, rustic floor-through, we arrived early and were given a tiny table for one and a half hours – punto. So we dug in, helped by a charming server who walked us through the small plates and delicious wines. Spiced almonds sat center table through most of the meal and they were delicious; when I eat here again, however, I’ll keep them at arm’s length to better indulge in the delicious food. Highlights? For us they were the incredible beef tartare and the arroz negro with squid ink. The salted cod with potato croquettes was yummy and the fuyu persimmon, fennel and hazelnut salad was divine.
I’d go back tonight in a rush, there was so much else on the menu I would like to have tasted.