The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges – French – Upper East Side
July 13th, 2010 by plumpdumpling

My boyfriend and I went to The Mark because the Times called it “unambitious” and the whole blogosphere was seemingly up in arms over the two-star rating they gave it despite that. I was prepared to be blown away, anyway, and to give it the many-doughnutted review it deserved.

The Mark by Jean-Georges
homemade cherry yuzu and ginger ale sodas ($5)

These sodas were sort of an afterthought, and they turned out to easily be the best part of the meal for me. Ever since the major ginger ale brand in the U.S. started advertising that they use real ginger, I’ve become way more interested in the stuff; I don’t know what I thought was in it before, but it sure wasn’t actual ginger.

If you like drinking that super-commercial style of ginger ale, this might be too much for you to handle, because it is so unbelievably flavorful that you’ll never be able to buy a 2-liter ever again. The ginger was actually settling in the bottom of the glass between sips, which makes me heart pitter-pat just thinking about it. I wish The Mark was closer to my work, because I’d convince all of my co-workers to have happy hour at the bar every day just to get faux-drunk on this stuff.

The Mark by Jean-Georges
black truffle pizza with fontina cheese ($21)

Obviously, this was good. A crunchy, airy crust with an earthy, umami middle and that fresh frisée on top. It wasn’t quite as earth-shattering as I expected, though, maybe because it was too easy. Or maybe because I’m becoming a snob who’s becoming too accustomed to black truffle.

The Mark by Jean-Georges
market beets, endive, walnuts, grapes ($13)

This was a dish I’d definitely order again. I had never tasted beets until my boyfriend took me to Jules in the East Village three or so years ago, so they’re still a little foreign to me and therefore exciting. Having three different kinds on the plate was like Christmas, and I was pleased to find that they all had distinctive flavors.

The endive with walnuts and grapes was heavenly, and we were sopping that crazy cheese sauce up with our breadbasket.

The Mark by Jean-Georges
branzino with couscous ($30-something)

The Mark by Jean-Georges
parmesan-crusted organic chicken with artichokes ($25)

I’d be a liar if I said I wouldn’t eat this every day, because come on, look at that crust. The chicken was so moist inside, and the lemony butter sauce only enhanced that, although I needed twice as much of it. When I compare chicken to pork and duck and beef in my mind, it’s so flavorless, and I’m always happy when a chef changes that for me (even if just for a moment).

The Mark by Jean-Georges
Grand Marnier souffle, mandarin sorbet ($10)

I’m as disappointed in us as you are for only ordering one dessert, but it was quite the dessert. I usually feel like souffles are more trouble than they’re worth, but this one was so crusty/creamy/orangey. My boyfriend was nice and let me clean out the ramekin, which I did with my finger when our server wasn’t looking.

Rating One StarOne StarOne StarOne-Half StarZero Stars

I liked the formal yet not overly-romantic atmosphere, and the professional service (though our waiter did a double-take when I ordered a Riesling to accompany our meal, but I will not feel bad about my dessert wine love), but for someone with three Michelin stars, it definitely felt like an easy venture rather than a super-passionate one. We left feeling like we’d eaten a nice meal by an accomplished chef, but we didn’t feel wowed. I’m not writing Vongerichten off, though, and I do hope to write an our-socks-were-knocked-off review of his other restaurant, Jean-Georges, soon.

The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges
25 East 77th Street
New York, NY 10075 (map)

15 Responses  
  • kimz writes:
    July 13th, 201012:38 pmat

    Restaurant Week in Boston is coming up and one of the restaurants on my list is The Market Restaurant by Jean George. I’d heard good things, but your review made me lean towards other places. Not that the pictures don’t look delicious, but I want to be wowed come Restaurant Week. Hmm. I guess I’ll see what my dining companions have to say.

    Also, now I want pizza.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      July 13th, 20103:22 pmat

      Wait, Boston has restaurants? I thought you guys just ate, you know, hot dogs at the stadium and lobsters you find stuck to the bottoms of your yachts.

      • Kim writes:
        July 14th, 201011:39 amat

        That is basically my Boston diet, actually. Along with Absolut Boston, for which black tea flavor is attained by filtering water from the harbor where the colonists threw the tea in tax protests a few years or a couple hundred back.

        Well played.

        • plumpdumpling writes:
          July 14th, 20103:11 pmat

          See, now THAT is the kind of culture I respect. Ohio’s only proprietary liquor is moonshine.

  • kimz writes:
    July 13th, 20103:24 pmat

    Yeah, those pesky sea bottom dwelling lobsters often get stuck to the bottom of our yachts.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      July 13th, 20104:14 pmat

      You win this time.

      But I hope one comes up and claws you in the ass next time you go out wading in the 50s-style halter bathing suit I know you have.

      • kimz writes:
        July 13th, 20104:16 pmat

        Yep, because I am just that fashionable.

  • Bachelor Girl writes:
    July 13th, 20104:10 pmat


    Sorry. Things like this have the potential to make my day.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      July 13th, 20104:16 pmat

      Thank you! I love them, too, but they’ve made my life so stressful. How do I judge pizza against Prime Meats?! Am I going to hate myself in the morning if I give Jean-Georges less fewer than 4 doughnuts?! It’s all so difficult.

  • Kim writes:
    July 14th, 201011:44 amat

    Oh, I am just excited that you do in fact deign to head north of 59th St. now and then. I can invite you over for brownie sundaes the next time you schlep all the way uptown for French cuisine and only order one dessert. I am a VERY good brownie sundae maker.

    Also, I feel like I want to make some kind of snide remark about your affinity for truffles but hatred of mushrooms because like, fungus is fungus or something. But I’m a snob too so I kind of get it. Plus I’m guessing your mushroom thing is more of a consistency issue? Maybe? Whatever.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      July 14th, 20103:08 pmat

      Hey, I go to Serendipity at least three times a year. That counts, right? Will I be able to fit into your new apartment?

      It’s a little bit of consistency, but it’s a lot of appearance. I can’t handle those ridges under the roof part of the ones that look like little houses. It’s just gross. I can’t explain it. I’m basically okay with them as long as they don’t resemble mushrooms, hence my liking mushroom foam and truffles.

  •» Blog Archive » Aquavit – Scandinavian – Midtown East writes:
    December 10th, 20103:35 pmat

    […] concerned this may be one of those cases–like Jean-Georges’ restaurants The Mark or Nougatine–where you just don’t get the same experience when the chefs are using […]

  •» Blog Archive » DBGB – French/American – East Village writes:
    September 7th, 20113:07 pmat

    […] I was the first to poke my spoon into it to make a hole for the creme anglaise, and I described the bite as “exactly on the edge of egginess”. Well, of course, the farther we got down into the soufflé, the eggier it became, so once everyone had a bite, the rest was inedible. It was the very opposite of the Grand Marnier soufflé we had at The Mark by Jean-Georges. […]

  • NYC Restaurant Reviews –» Blog Archive » The Duckavore Dinner at Wong – Chinese – West Village writes:
    December 16th, 201112:15 pmat

    […] described this as a sort of plum soda; it reminded my boyfriend and me of the homemade sodas at the Jean-Georges restaurants that are really the whole point of dining there. It was light and refreshing, perfectly […]

  • NYC Restaurant Reviews » Lunch at Jean-Georges writes:
    March 7th, 201312:00 pmat

    […] went to acclaimed French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s less-expensive restaurants The Mark and Nougatine. There were definite highlights to each–the beets, the souffle, the strawberry foie […]

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