Since I’ve been MIA from The Leopard for a bit, there will be lots of goodies in this post to compensate. I think burrata is a good place to start.
Estela has been in a raving spotlight since it opened. Adam Platt told us to go there in 2014, and a year later… I finally went and inhaled; done. The burrata with salsa verde and charred bread soaking beneath is as creamy as marshmallow fluff and tasted extremely fresh. The crust was a bit difficult to cut into, making me want to dig in with my hands like a vulture, but it’s a great dish to explore. If you don’t like burrata, please take this up with me separately.
I’m definitely not a carnivore. During my youth, I would practically order my filet mignon burnt and overcooked to death, but eventually I upgraded my Houston’s burgers to medium well. I like to dabble in meat here and there. And this lamb for the table with some chermoula (hiding beneath; some kind of hardcore Moroccan herby situation) and honey was excellent. You can get a glimpse of the scallops covered in greens, they were not noteworthy.
The photo does no justice, but this was a favorite. Ricotta dumplings with shaved mushrooms and pecorino are basically the way to my soul. I could have this for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. It’s a must.
Can’t tell if it’s the shitty photography skills (mine), or the blah-ish presentation, but this is the infamous fried arroz negro with squid and romesco. Very tasty, nice crispy bites and good flavor. Didn’t change my world (the brown butter cake at Gato has actually impacted me for life and I fear nothing will live up until the end of time).
The steak is playing hide and seek, but you can spy a morsel under the sprinkled arugula. Two sliced pieces, nicely cooked, a few roasted potatoes. It was good, but if you’re in a meat debacle, go with Mary had a little lamb…
Overall, the ambience at Estela was definitely a win. It’s intimate, dimly lit, cozy and just the right size. It’s not too noisy, and there’s a nice bar area where you can eat your meal and drink your drinks.
The cocktail menu was underwhelming. If you’re going to have 6 drinks on the menu, that’s totally respectable but they should all be killer. My pisco spin-off (the Diablada) was slacking a bit. Though the negroni with hints of celery was more refined and packed a punch.
Definitely go and try Estela. I’m always a fan of experiencing a place first-hand (well, there’s no other way). The repeat visit is never guaranteed.