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[Houston] Mark's American Cuisine


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My husband and I enjoyed a fantastic dinner at Mark's on Saturday evening. The view upon entering the restaurant is stunning. A beautiful bar with a wine 'cellar' above it (on the second story) is the focal point of the room. We had a reservation and were seated immediatly. There was a basket of 4 types of thinly sliced bread and butter in the shape of Mark's emblem waiting for us. We ordered a glass of Prosecco while we tried to make a decision from the menu. Our waiter then told us about the chef's specials, all of which sounded super. We finally decided on a seafood starter. It consisted of scallops (prepared 2 ways with 2 sauces) so tender they almost didn't need to be chewed, and a creamy crawfish and shrimp sauce over fettucini. All three were really outstanding. The wine list included a Vino Nobile, and, that being one of our favorites, we had decided to go for red meat for our entrees instead of fish. Steve opted for one of the chef's specials, a buffalo chop. It was served with truffled potatoes, and both dishes were just perfect. The chop was tender and the earthy potatoes divine. I ordered the sirloin steak, which was really more like a roast - thick cut, beefy and juicy. Mine was accompanied by stacked potato planks and carmemelized onion (confit!!). We shared a creme brulee (again a favorite) for dessert, and wished we weren't so full so we could have eaten more. Mark's was a truely memorable dining experience, and I highly recommend it.

Stop Family Violence

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  • 9 months later...

Bouncing around on the web, I found this review of Mark's. Glad to see that others outside of Houston appreciate the quality of the restaurant.

"As far as I'm concerned, bacon comes from a magical, happy place" Frank, John Doe

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Bouncing around on the web, I found this review of Mark's.  Glad to see that others outside of Houston appreciate the quality of the restaurant.

Had lunch there several times--I rate it above DaMarcos even if Alison of the Chronicle doesn't.

Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

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I think it's the best restaruant in Houston!

I used to until I went to Noë. Still is a great restaurant, just now a close #2.

Still, Mark's and Noë are so far ahead of the everyone else.

"As far as I'm concerned, bacon comes from a magical, happy place" Frank, John Doe

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Hey LDLee . . . that link sends me to Sports Illustrated. I kept trying to figure out if the NFL had invaded Mark's. :laugh:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Ah ha! I was scanning and missed that. The review is indeed interesting.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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  • 5 months later...

*bump*

For a much-needed evening out, my husband chose Mark's, and I quickly made a reservation. Again, everything was spectacular. They were out of the Prosecco we had enjoyed last year, so we started with a nice glass of bubbly from South Africa.

I chose a starter from the chef's specials - lobster tasting, and Steve opted for the Ahi tuna starter. We moved on to another of the chef's specials---a Kobe tasting constisting of sirloin, flank, and the star of the show, (in our opinion) the braised short ribs. The ribs were meltingly tender and so flavorful. We both saved them for last and ate really small bites, so they lasted longer....the sides were incredible as well. I really need to work on my knife skills to try and replicate the tiny dice Mark's does with their vegetables. The potatoes were 'risotto style'. I just have to try that. Steve finished his meal with the grilled banana and pineapple split, while I enjoyed the cheese plate. We complimented our dinner with the same Vino Nobile as we had before - a wine I don't think many people drink, but one everybody should try. What a super evening. I can't say enough good things about Mark's.

Stop Family Violence

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I've eaten there three times in the past six months or so and have been very impressed each time. Nice, if not exhaustive wine list (albeit with a highish mark up). But the food is the star here. Very, very good. Clean and intense flavors, especially on the sauces on the mixed seafood apetizers. He'll usually do a profusion of sauces and small tastes on those. Really nice. Now if they only had Cafe Annie's wine list, it would be perfect.

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Must be a Mark’s time of year. Mark’s is our favorite Houston spot to celebrate our anniversary both for the outstanding food and flawless, gracious service. For our fifth anniversary I made dinner reservations (maybe it is just me, but I love the fact that they know all our preferences, names, special dates as soon as I give them my last name) and we had a lovely meal there last weekend.

For starters I picked the Asparagus “off-menu” special with three different kinds of asparagus (and each type prepared differently with sauces), wild mushrooms and greens. It was delicious and my wife kept picking on it instead of on her seafood tropical salad dish. I have to admit though I was sticker-shocked at the price of this one. I guess I should’ve asked, but I did not expect to pay $22 for an asparagus appetizer no matter how good it was.

For our main course we both got chops, my wife had the veal chop with, if I remember correctly, bacon studded risotto and several other miniature garnishes and sauces. I had a very juicy spice rubbed pork chop with a nice reduction, finely diced roasted root vegetables, a potato chip and the lightest creamiest whipped potatoes (“chantilly” I think). I am sure I am forgetting little things here and there.

Dessert was terrific as well, for me it was a chocolate hazelnut torte. A very light and fluffy round cake with strong flavors of cocoa and hazelnut. It also had a delicious hazelnut tuille (sp?) type cookie served with it. My wife had an excellent nectarine and blueberry tart.

For wine the sommelier recommended an affordable and very well balanced Shiraz (The Footbolt by D’arenberg) that went great with the meal and was great to sip even with my dessert. Being probably the youngest (under 30) couple in Mark’s that night, almost this is always the case, we are always treated exceptionally well. I wish I could say the same of a couple of other places we’ve been to in Houston and out of town. The service from everyone is top notch and the sommelier made sure I had all my questions answered including my price restrictions. At no point did we feel at the receiving end of mediocre service because we were not the right age or status. Mark’s remains one of my all time favorite fine dining spots in Houston and I find it difficult to go anywhere else for such dinners (although the new Tony’s has been on my list for a while :smile:).

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Oh man this place sounds fab. I'll be in Houston with my aunts for the 4th of July weekend, and I think I'm going to coerrce them into taking me there! :raz:

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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Oh man this place sounds fab. I'll be in Houston with my aunts for the 4th of July weekend, and I think I'm going to coerrce them into taking me there!  :raz:

Mark's certainly is way more than just ok (Cafe Annie is just OK, especially for the $$$), you should have a great experience there.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Mark's is fine, but nothing great; there are a couple of hundred restaurants doing it better across the US. It's just that there is such a derth of anything really good in Houston, that Mark's stands out. Mark's is voted best in Houston by Zagat but correctly rates 16/20 from Gayot... oh well.

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te to say it but I agree with Big Boy except I think mark's is a little better than he gives it credit IMO. And De Marco is nearly a great restaurant. Noe could be but my one experince there was OK and the lack of customers and no vibe/buzz really hurt the experience.

On the other hand we have a ton of great places to eat that are affordable.

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Marks food is wonderful but I don't like feeling I am in the midst of big parties of expense-account diners. I feel like it is a bit impersonal and loud.

BUT, the Tours of ____ (anything) especially crab are so dynamite.

I think Marks desserts are hands-down the best in town.

If we are still comparing the big 3 (Marks, Noe and Da Marco), I think Noe suffers from being quiet and empty and no buzz (as stated above), Marks is too popular with diners that make it loud and less elegant, and DM remains my favorite but I certainly understand why it's easy to have a bad experience there (lots of squished bad tables, no place to wait, and uneven service if they don't know you) but I think it's the best food for the $$.

I would put Chez Nous above Noe and possibly over Marks for ambiance and setting, but it is very far away.

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lots of squished bad tables, no place to wait, and uneven service if they don't know you

Yes, yes and YES. I will go back to Da Marco because the food is excellent, but this is one of the places I was talking about concerning the VIP/status/age factor in my Mark's post earlier. Nothing bugs me more than waiters who "assume" (you don't want wine, you don't want to hear specials...), especially at finer dining restaurants where service and cordiality is almost as important as the food. Da Marco was the definition of "impersonal and loud" for us. For an all around fine dining experience, IMHO, in HOUSTON Mark's fits the bill. Expense accounts holders do not bother me one bit. They are all over the place anyways and good for them and the restaurants. If I had an unlimited expense account I would do the same too. As for the noise level I always request to be seated on the balcony where this is hardly a problem. Compared to Da Marco's insane noise level Mark's is a church :wink:...literally.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I hadn't kicked in my .02 regarding Da Marco's, but I feel the same as FM. TOO LOUD, no place to wait, although we were seated right away, I felt intrusive standing there at someone's back who was trying to enjoy their dinner. I felt rushed at DM as well, and the waiter never bothered to send the wine steward over as I was looking at the list. The food was great, of course, but the whole experience was just not as elegant(?) as Mark's. At DM, we were seated on the porch, next to the canvas wall. I really don't want to eat in a tent. I will go back sometime for lunch - I hear their lunch is super, but if I'm going to spend $$$, and my husband is squeezing into his dress slacks, I'll pick Mark's every time.

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We do go to DM a lot and probably get above average service. We have sent a lot of friends there who were underwhelmed by everything (but the food). The new renovations have made a lot of better space (and no more tent). The only sad thing is the great sommelier left to start a new restaurant on Washington called Catalana which is opening this summer. I have heard that he is in this new venture with a person from Ibiza and a person from Brennan's.

Also, at DM the menu has recently changed and the new additions are great.

I do admit that if you get better service if they know you, that's a bad thing. I would never go there at 8 on a Friday or Saturday night because of the noise.

If you really love the food though, you should give Dolce Vita a try, the same quality approach to pizza and pasta. But that place gets loud and crowded. But there's a fun bar.

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