One flight up, in a narrow, bustling bistro overlooking the chaos of one of New York’s busiest downtown streets, Ignacio Mattos serves some of the best food on the planet to throngs of loyals and locals, visiting celebrities (including presidents), out-of-town pilgrims, and everyone else curious for a taste of Estela. And what exactly are they tasting? Nothing too fancy, nothing molecular or precious or hyperseasonal, but food that hits you right there. Food that is bold, bright, layered, playful, and surprising. Food that bursts to life in your mouth.
And thanks to Estela, it’s food that you can easily make at home. Estela teaches us how to think like Ignacio Mattos – how to look at something as ordinary as a button mushroom and make it extraordinary (shaved thin over dumplings) or as familiar as burrata and transform it (with a pool of juiced herby greens and charred bread). Revealed here are the sources of so many of Estela’s surprising pops of flavour – the vinegars, citruses, and pickling broths. The aesthetic and practical reasons for presenting foods in neat circles. And the two Fs that are pillars of Ignacio’s approach to conceiving dishes: “Focus,” meaning only one or two main ingredients and a small supporting cast, and “F**kup Proof,” his technique of composing a dish so that every bite is a piece of the whole, carrying its electric marriage of flavours and textures.
Estela presents the complete roster of the restaurant’s great dishes and a new relaxed, creative approach to cooking.