Marjie’s Grill opened at the very end of 2016, at 320 S. Broad St. Chef Marcus Jacobs and co-owner Caitlin Carney met while both were working at Herbsaint.
The space is casual, with seats for about 45, some at long communal tables. There are plans to expand seating into a patio behind the restaurant, adding another 30 or so spots.
When I spoke recently with them, they told me they wanted the restaurant to be a welcoming, casual place, and that’s one reason they opted for counter service.
They also told me that the menu at Marjie’s is, essentially, what they cook at home. It is a mix of Southern and Southeast Asian, influenced by a two-month trip the pair took to Thailand, Vietnam and Laos not long ago. The combination works remarkably well, particularly when you taste the fish, poultry, meat and vegetables that come off the Santa Maria-style grill Jacobs set up just outside the kitchen. The grill surface can be raised or lowered easily, and Jacobs most often employs it to cook slowly, with smoke and at low temperatures that leave more moisture in the finished product.
Marjie’s grill is open Tuesdays-Fridays for lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; happy hour starts at 4:30 p.m.; and dinner runs 5:30-9 p.m.; they’re also open 12-9 p.m. on Saturdays. Call 603-2234 to learn more.
Chef Phillip Lopez, of Root and Square Root, has opened a bistro, Petit Lion, in the Troubador Hotel at 1111 Gravier St. It may seem an interesting concept for a chef best-known for inventive, modern cooking. And the restaurant’s décor is certainly sleeker than the sort of homey style you might expect. But Lopez has always been about more than surprising diners; he and his team consistently produce some of the finest charcuterie in town, and a lot of what he puts out has the soul of comfort food.
The menus are fairly brief and full of standards, such as Lyonnaise salad, mussels with fries and steak au poivre, but the chef’s famous pickled shrimp and crab-stuffed deviled eggs are also options, and the scallop crudo with passion fruit, peppercorns and a light dashi broth may be one of the prettiest things you’ll be served all year.
There is a large, U-shaped bar with seating for around 20. The list features wines from all over the world, and the selections have clearly been well thought out.
Petit Lion is open for breakfast during the week 7-11 a.m.; for brunch on weekends 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; and for lunch Mondays-Fridays 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Dinner starts daily at 5 p.m. and goes until 11 Mondays-Fridays and until 10 p.m. on Sundays. You can reach the restaurant by calling 518-5500.
Chef Michael Gulotta has received a great deal of positive press, very well-deserved, for his modern Vietnamese restaurant MoPho; he branched out first with Tana at Trèo, where the menu looks toward the Mediterranean, then Rum & the Lash inside Finn McCool’s Irish Pub, which features upscale bar food.
Maypop took over the space that was previously Ursa Major, in the Paramount complex at 611 O’Keefe Ave. The food is influenced by a broad spectrum of Asian nations; there’s a chicken vindaloo on the menu, for example, with a crispy rice cake and pickled mirliton, and a chilled buckwheat noodle salad with apple, crab and Szechuan peppercorns that generate a pleasantly warm numbness in the mouth after a half-dozen bites.
The dining room is dominated on one wall by a huge mural that’s folded such that from one direction you see a map of the Mekong delta, and from the other the Mississippi.
Gulotta and his co-owners (Gulotta’s brother Jeff and Jeffrey Bybee) expanded the storage behind the bar and brightened the space up with light wood panels and hanging plants.
Maypop is open Sundays-Thursdays 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and until 11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. Call 518-6345 to make a reservation, and visit MaypopRestaurant.com.