REVIEW #90

The Mark

Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s new venture in the Upper East Side’s Mark Hotel has the feel of an upscale neighborhood restaurant despite being housed in a hotel. It achieves this effect notwithstanding the fact that the mirrored front bar, whose most conspicuous feature is a series of pony-skin chairs, looks sometimes discomfitingly like a discothèque. Once safely beyond the rather inauspicious entryway, however, some of the elegance and professionalism of this restaurant begins to come into focus. The designer Jacques Grange, who also designed the hotel, gutted the old restaurant and raised a section of the ceiling to incorporate a skylight. The chic, relaxed interior contrasts nicely with the old-world elegance of the exterior of the 1927 landmark building.

The food is an eclectic jumble of high-end comfort food: French (“Croque M”); Asian (hamachi sashimi with a soy-yuzu dressing); Italian (linguine with clams); raw bar (oysters, claims, shrimp, lobsters, caviar); pizzas (black truffle pizza with fontina cheese); and meats (veal chops, lamb chops, steaks). Although the food is not revolutionary, much of it is excellent, including a peekytoe crab cake with pink grapefruit, avocado and ginger; simply grilled diver scallops; and the “Croque M” (lamentably available only at lunch), a cross between a croque monsieur and croque madame, that is composed of slices of fresh pain de mie basted with Mornay sauce, Flying Pig Farm ham, comte and gruyere, and then broiled with a quail egg on top.

The fact that The Mark was opened within weeks of ABC Kitchen is a testament to Vongerichten’s immense talent as a restaurateur and to his seemingly supernatural ability to juggle the competing demands of his culinary empire, a feat frequently attempted by others, but seldom executed so successfully.

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INFORMATION

Upper East Side
25 E. 77th St.
New York (nr. Madison Ave.)
(212) 606-3030
Mon-Fri, 7am-11am, 11:30am-11pm; Sat-Sun, 7am-11pm
    Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Chef
    Pierre Schutz, Executive Chef
    Jacques Grange, Designer

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