South Park's New Steak House, More New Orleans in Pioneer Square, and the Polar Bar Downtown

Selections from Voracious, our daily food blog.

Now Open on James Street: Marcela's Cookery Nepotism Alert: Marcela's Cookery, an eponymous New Orleans–influenced restaurant at 106 James St. that's owned by SW Production Manager Claudia Johns' sister, is open for business. Today, looking to scratch a muffuletta sandwich itch that's been driving me mad since the Virginia Inn closed for renovations, I ventured there for lunch. Only I ultimately declined to scratch—the encrusted pork chop special sounded too good to pass up. And it was. Let's hope this restaurant is able to make a go of it on a tough stretch of P. Square pavement that never seems to get its fair share of foot traffic. The food is certainly up to snuff, and Cajun cuisine in Seattle isn't exactly readily available. -- Mike Seely New Girl in South Park: Loretta's Loretta's, 8617 14th Ave. S., SOUTH PARK, open for lunch, dinner, and late night Piles of old records rotating through a vintage record player, low ceilings, wood on all flat surfaces, and an Airstream parked out on the patio ... those are my bullet points for Scott Horrell's new bar and steak house in South Park, Loretta's. The music alone will make you want to stay all night (or, er, day in my case). The menu is still expanding (she's only five days old), and includes your choice of burgers and steaks, in many sizes. Both categories feature a "tavern" version. The $3 Tavern Burger is a smaller portion of burger, not slider small but saucer-sized, and dressed with Thousand and pickles. The Tavern Steak is a smaller portion of steak, or as the staff calls it, "just enough," about 6 ounces. The price is just right: $13. Add a fully loaded baked potato for $4. Loretta's also will serve rib-eyes and New Yorks. The place has the feel of some idyllic grandpa's basement cross-pollinated with a roadside tavern. If ever a place deserved the word cozy, Loretta's does. On tap you'll find Olympia, Roger's pilsner, and of course 9 lb. Porter (the honorific beer of Loretta's brother, the 9 lb. Hammer). -- Maggie Dutton Juno Opens in May Juno at the Arctic Club Hotel, 700 Third Ave. at Cherry Street, 340-0340, DOWNTOWN Opening in May A hundred years ago, a bunch of Seattleites who struck it rich in the Klondike gold rush formed the Arctic Club, a social organization for men with ties to Alaska. A few years later, they commissioned a fancy "clubhouse" down on Third Avenue, rimmed the building with walrus-head sculptures, and threw in some swanky Alaskan marble and a stained-glassed dome on the top floor that's said to mimic the Northern Lights. Little Alaska, in Seattle. In May, the building is reopening (with a face-lift) as the Arctic Club Hotel, complete with a 134-seat restaurant called Juno and a bar dubbed the Polar Bar. (The Web site actually says the bar is "the perfect place to break the ice or just chill.") Named for the goddess of health, hearth, and home (and a play on Juneau, Alaska), Juno will serve up eco-friendly ingredients from local purveyors, with a menu that chases the seasons. Executive chef Thomas Kollasch will be whipping up goodies that bridge classic hotel cuisine with Seattle's love for local, creative fare. For dinner, think chickpea custard with morel cream and tarragon, or espresso- and coriander-crusted filet mignon. For breakfast, there'll be champagne-apple crepes and the predicted house favorite, Amaretto biscuits doused with a gravy made with Isernio's chorizo. They'll also have a full-on tea-tasting menu. Wait, is that power breakfast I smell? -- Jess Thomson El Rey Del Taco: Making Me Lazier, Happier Right down the street from my house, a new taco truck has parked, El Rey del Taco. I still haven't figured out their hours, but I can vouch for the tortas at lunchtime. The truck is across from Home Depot on Sylvan Way Southwest, the road that winds down from 35th through the cemetery, next to the Tug and the Vietnamese cultural center. Thank you, El Rey, for helping me shrink my carbon footprint. I'll still make the trip to El Rincon south of White Center.... -- Maggie Dutton  

 
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