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Published June 20, 2013

Estela Kowalski
A House of Deliciousness in Nolita

Look at it out there.

It’s spectacular.

Makes you want to... eat ham.

Maybe have a bottle of wine.

And if it doesn’t, well... you’ll want to now.

Stand under a window and scream your lungs out Brando-style for Estela, a humble passage of shared-plate temptation and profound wine-drinking, now open in Nolita.

Botanica: a semi-divey gem. This place: right above it. Likely because Botanica’s owner is one of the gents running it. Along with a former Isa chef doing calamari a la plancha and a former Blue Hill at Stone Barns beverage director directing you toward grower champagnes and delightfully obscure beers. Sort of stacking the deck there, but you won’t hold that against them.

You’re coming here for one of two reasons: to impress someone of the food-loving persuasion with plates of seared razor clams and gigante beans with tuna or to ensure first-date satisfaction. (Maybe both.)

Scenario 1: you arrive early and experience the gin-and-absinthe-y joy of a fine Tuxedo #2 at the marble bar. Scenario 2: you don’t, and you’re led straight to one of the wooded two-tops lined up beneath a row of incandescent orbs.

Feel free to just call them “lights.”
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