Recently Opened Restaurants
by Julie Besonen, 07/17/2013
47 E. Houston St., 212-219-7693, NoLIta, Manhattan
Since Ignacio Mattos made his reputation with illustrious tenures at Il Buco and Isa, his fans have been eager to see where he landed next. Wonder no more: you'll find him doing his thing at Estela, located in the upper-level space on Houston Street that used to be Nolita House. The narrow pub has a solid bar scene, booths and brick walls—nothing fancy. Mattos' food is the focus, be it anchovies with matzo, exactly what it sounds like, or kohlrabi with hazelnuts, mint and fossa (aged pecorino), which is so much more—the bright flavors are distinct, not muddied, and the combination is simple and inspired. Mattos is a master of restraint, shown in the purity of raw scallops with citrus and bronze fennel, and the outstanding tartare with sunchokes. The esoteric cocktail list is worth a gander, and the stunning wine list features an extraordinarily wide price range by the bottle and glass.