by Ian McNulty
The next addition to the booming Bywater restaurant scene is scheduled to make its debut this Thursday, Jan. 24. Mariza is described as an Italian-influenced neighborhood bistro, and it’s the latest from chef Ian Schnoebelen and Laurie Casebonne, the owners of the French Quarter standout Iris.
The new restaurant is opening in the Rice Mill Lofts, a riverfront apartment complex built in a former industrial space by developer Sean Cummings.
Though Iris is hardly stuffy, Schnoebelen and Casebonne are aiming for a more laidback approach with Mariza, which they envision as a spot for an any-night dinner or a place for friends to share a plate of salumi and a bottle of wine. Prices are decidedly mid-range, with most dishes between $7 and $16.
The menu begins with crostini and bruschetta, meat and cheese plates and salads. There are a few pizza options, papardelle with duck ragout, black fettuccine (colored, and flavored, with squid ink) and a short list of entrees, including whole fish preparations. There will also be a raw bar serving oysters and different types of seafood carpaccio. There’s a full bar.
Mariza’s owners are long-time Bywater residents and local restaurant industry veterans who together pulled off one of the classic post-Katrina carpe diem career moves.
Before the storm, they both worked at Lilette, where Schnoebelen was sous chef and Casebonne worked the front of the house. Within weeks they began planning their own restaurant, and Iris opened early in 2006. Within a year Food+Wine Magazine named Schnoebelen one of the nation's top 10 new chefs. In 2008, they moved the restaurant from its original spot in the Carrollton area (where Boucherie is now) to a larger space in the French Quarter.
Mariza will serve dinner Tuesday through Saturday.
2900 Chartres St., 504-598-5700