Unless you’re a River Oaks regular wearing a non tilting tiara, Mark’s is indeed a special occasion restaurant. Cha-chings explode as commoners enter the foyer, with endless hopes of hostess patience with the poor. Power this massive can easily bring Brennan’s to a high society standoff. Pause.
Briefly speaking with owner-executive chef Mark Cox during the Green Beans & Guacamole book signing at Sorrel, quickly led to an interview invite, as well as a front & back of the house tour. We walked through the restaurant as Mark gave details of the building’s incredible history.
His time & effort renovating this 1920’s church has produced a forced feeling of romance that no one can deny.
Commoner business people may have it made during the day. Mark’s offers a prix fixe three course menu during lunch for a measly $26.95. For the same price during dinner you will receive a total of one pea from a mini pod, half a cucumber, and a bite of bisque. Really. Expensive. Restaurant.
Traditional lobster bisque is often made using tomato sauce as an ingredient, giving it a deep pink color. Chef Cox has no time for tradition, thus delivering… white lobster bisque.
Mark’s roasted corn chowder with smoked apple wood bacon, potatoes, and thyme can be found in the Green Beans & Guacamole cookbook. Several salads were listed during our visit, such as an autumn salad with peach preserves, heirloom mixed greens & petite arugula, figs, and roasted beets in a raspberry balsamic vinaigrette.
Three different apps arrived for us to try which included diver scallops, sashimi tuna, and oysters. Most exciting is Mark’s use of hearth roasted Washburn Island oysters, which are topped with a ragout of jumbo crabmeat, shrimp, and roasted leeks in truffle aioli vinaigrette.
Grilled Panama Shrimp with a ragout of jumbo lump crabmeat on top of a southern Carolina succotash & grit cake with chili spiked lime sauce, roasted green chile, and cilantro coulis.
Another entree offered during our tasting was roasted Texas redfish with pine nut & orange risotto, pepper shrimp, orange cauliflower, asparation & sugar snap peas in a sherry prawn sauce.
Others enjoyed the hearth roasted Bryan Farms chicken, house made chicken sausage, Mississippi style grits & ratatouille with grilled portabella and baby arugula with chicken glace. Don’t fret, for Mark’s has no shortage of scary stuff, including veal, pork, lamb, and duck.
Mark’s dessert will never disappoint. Impossible. We tried the chocolate smore tart with graham cracker, gingersnap crust, and peanut butter with chocolate fudge filling, bananas and brulee meringue, with a scoop of raspberry sorbet.
We ended the night with French bread and white chocolate custard, browned butter, macerated fruit compote, mango sorbet and Grand Marnier spiked white chocolate sauce.
Another dessert sounding super sassy is the coffee toffee with espresso mousse & bittersweet chocolate fudge filling over a toasted pecan crust, finished with kaluha mascarpone and housemade toffee.
FIVE: High 5!
FOUR: Please & Thank You
TWO: Double Wow
ONE: Wow + Ouch = Wouch