Estela

Estela opened this year to much fanfare. Food Critic Adam Platt named it one of the Best 10 New Restaurants of 2014.  Needless to say, I was eager to check the place out.  

This Mediterranean-themed tapas restaurant is situated on the 2nd floor, overlooking Houston Street. The space is long and dark, but the front windows do open up completely, bringing in a little bit of the SoHo ambience.

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The nectarines with shaved cheese on top was light and fresh. A good summer dish.

 NECTARINES WITH RAMPS AND FORMAGGIO DI FOSSA

NECTARINES WITH RAMPS AND FORMAGGIO DI FOSSA

Mussels on toast, topped with thinly sliced tomato and some parsley.  What a simple, yet creative dish.  I have never had mussels presented this way.  The flavors were amazing!  My favorite dish of the evening. 

 MUSSELS ESCABECHE ON TOAST

MUSSELS ESCABECHE ON TOAST

The burrata received lots of attention in many reviews. While good, I didn't find it outstanding. 

 BURRATA WITH SALSA VERDE AND CHARRED BREAD

BURRATA WITH SALSA VERDE AND CHARRED BREAD

The quail was good, but at $22, i expected more than a small piece of quail meat, the size of a chicken wing. 

 QUAIL WITH BUTTER BEANS AND NETTLES

QUAIL WITH BUTTER BEANS AND NETTLES

The Ricotta Dumplings were pillowy soft and just melted in my mouth. I quite like the sauce as well. The thinly sliced mushrooms didn't really taste like anything, but it did give the dish its beautiful presentation. 

 RICOTTA DUMPLINGS WITH MUSHROOMS AND PECORINO SARDO

RICOTTA DUMPLINGS WITH MUSHROOMS AND PECORINO SARDO

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We shared two desserts; a refreshing strawberry sorbet and a rich, chocolate cake that's practically a mousse.  Both desserts were forgettable. 

 STRAWBERRY SORBET WITH RHUBARB AND GREEN TEA MERINGUE

STRAWBERRY SORBET WITH RHUBARB AND GREEN TEA MERINGUE

 CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH WHIPPED CREAM

CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH WHIPPED CREAM

Verdict: AA-. I think the restaurant's intended concept was to be a wine/cocktail bar with some good food. I would come back for drinks and some nibble at the bar.

Estela
47 East Houston Street (Between Mulberry & Mott St.)
http://estelanyc.com