Estela: the essence of NYC
There are several reasons why the area around Soho/Nolita in NYC is my favorite neighborhood in the world.
The main one is the fact that in a sleepless city lived by millions of people from different cultures, this area manages to keep its human-size dimensions.
Another one is its industrial design, with the red color of the clay used in the bricks facades of its buildings, one of the oldest construction material, and the black of the iron frame of the windows, curtains that open to mini-worlds of wooden floors and high ceilings.
Then there is the myriad of contemporary art galleries, symphony of shapes, materials, colors, and antiquities shops, hosting glorious marble statues, massive wooden furniture and neon-bulbs lamps.
And there is obviously food and an incredibly high concentration of good quality restaurants.
Among these, a discovery from my last trip to New York.
Number 47 of Houston street. 3 steps. Blue door: Estela.
Estela summarizes the essence of New York: a chic diner with a retro style, a wooden and marble bar, french wines and small american plates smelling of Mediterranean Sea.
The best moment to go is probably on Saturday or Sunday for their brunch.
We ordered the ricotta dumplings - the consistency is that one of gnocchi - with mushrooms and pecorino sardo and we did it, most honestly, because it's a beautiful dish.
The plate comes with a shield of mushrooms hiding the dumplings - the hide and seek game is played on several dishes - and with a brownish/green liquid sauce that is the real surprise of the dish: so intense in flavor and so straight in its mushroom taste!
Another dish worth to try is the English muffin with smoked fish.
Perfect execution for a very simple dish: the muffin, buttery but not too oily, and the fish, delicately smoked and not too dry, are simply the perfect starter!
Tips: getting a table may be a challenge and it is usually recommended to book one month in advance. On the other side, walk-ins are welcomed and it may be a viable option especially for brunch. If you are not too many you can try your luck and ask the staff to find a spot for you at the bar. You will not regret!
Note: in 2016, Estela was included in the list of the world's 50 best at the 44th position.