106 James Street
Lunch: 11-2:30 Mon.-Fri.
Dinner: 5-9 Mon.-Wed., 5-10 Thur-Sat.
Today, Marcela Fuenzalida and Anthony McDonald opened Marcela's Cookery in the old Pastiamo space (disclosure: Fuenzalida's sister is the Weekly's production manager). They're specializing in "authentic New Orleans cuisine." McDonald says, "We were going to make the theme 'inspired New Orleans,' but then I went to a few restaurants [that served New Orleans cuisine] and I was personally insulted that they would represent a jambalaya as jambalaya." The gauntlet, apparently, has been thrown.
McDonald was in the restaurant industry in New Orleans for 25 years before Katrina hit, but he had worked as a waiter, not a cook, until after the hurricane, when he first cooked on oil rigs in the Gulf and then followed his sister to Seattle in search of work. The couple are serving po' boys, muffaletta sandwiches, red beans and rice, and jambalaya at lunch, and at dinner they're going white-tablecloth with dishes like crab-stuffed shrimp, file gumbo, and bananas Foster, flambeed tableside.