Fine Dining RestaurantFood ★★★★☆
Ambiance ★★★★☆Service ★★★★★Creativity ★★★★☆Value ★★★★★
$50-85 meal for 2 plus drinks
Mark's Restaurant is the creation of 1985 Culinary Institute of America Graduate Mark Freedman. It is located in a Historic House located on Dolly Madison Road with a small parking lot in the front and a large shopping center with plenty of parking across the street. The atmosphere is semi-formal with a casual feel with lots of very colorful paintings by a local Cuban painter. The noise level can be a bit high as the restaurant fills up, but not terrible. The building looks quite small from the front, but it goes back fairly deep opening up into a small L-shaped dining area.
At Mark's you get excellent food at what I feel are reasonable prices for this quality. Entrees were in the $20-$35 range with appetizers in the $10-15 range. Mixed drinks were very reasonable at $4.50 for rail and about $12 for specialty cocktails. Too many restaurants are hitting you with the hidden fee of ridiculous drink prices lately. Mark's has kept the drink and food prices reasonable and there is no hidden surprise when the bill arrives.
Mark's has a very high wait staff to table ratio and the service shows this with very attentive and detailed service. The servers were all obviously well trained and did their jobs perfectly. It is really a shame more restaurants in our area don't do the same and train their staff.
The menu at Mark's has something for just about anyone. Small plates, salads, Fish, Shellfish, steak, chicken, pork and even ostrich was on the current menu. The menu you see listed on many websites for Mark's is old and inaccurate to what you will find on the current menu. I saw many things that interested me and the waiters suggestions of his favorites sealed my decision.
I started with the soup of the day which was shredded pork and white bean soup. This was a very hearty and tasty soup that was a great size for an appetizer. The soup was served hot and it obviously spent no time under a heat lamp.
Next, I had Mark's Restaurant's Scallop and Shrimp Pasta.
The scallops were very fresh and perfectly seared. Nice brown notes and flavor while the interior of the scallop was extremely tender. This scallop was easily cut with a fork with very little pressure. The shrimp were equally fresh and properly cooked. The pasta I believe was spaghettoni even though I think it was labeled as pappardelle. Not much of a difference between the two, pappardelle is flat and Spaghettoni is round. The pasta was cooked al dente which means to the tooth (not underdone) and means the pasta should have some resistance to the bite. Al dente is how pasta should be cooked. The sauce was a bit mild for my tastes. It was an excellent tomato sauce, however, I always prefer my tomato sauces to be a bit bolder in flavor. Overall, the dish was excellent.
Mark's Restaurant is another example of a fine restaurant in the Triad. The food is fantastic, the service is wonderful and while it is not cheap, it is an excellent value when you take into consideration the quality of the food and service. If you have not been, go. I think you will be pleased.