There's a reason that Estela, located right on E. Houston St. in the heart of New York City (well, up a short staircase anyway) is one of the most hyped-up restaurants of the past few years. Not just because the Obamas recently ate there or because it's become the unofficial canteen for NYC's food media, but owing to chef and co-owner Ignacio Mattos' highly nuanced spins on classic dishes.
His mussels escabeche elicits drools at the mere mention of it. His burrate merited the lede in Pete Wells' two-star New York Times review, which led to the critic musing, "Mr. Mattos' cooking at Estela has a mild case of weirdness." And here, in this video just posted to Nowness, Mattos showcases his mind at work, as he shops for, creates, experiments, cooks and plates an unusual spin on "mashed potatoes and fish," which he recalls from his youth in Uruguay. Below, watch the video, directed by Luis Alvarez Y Alvarez and James Casey of the magazine Swallow.