J Marks- 1245 North Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale http://www.jmarksrestaurant.com/
To begin with let me just say up front that I genuinely like this place and the folks who run it. I’m going to tell you about some of the dishes I enjoy, but first a short background. I discovered J Mark’s a couple of years ago, way before I began alanEATS. My foodie friends suggested a new place that had been getting good reviews, so we drove to Pompano for dinner. At the time, J Mark’s had only the one location. We were seated at a table in the bar area and I could see the place had a nice friendly buzz to it. But what instantly endeared me to this new restaurant was the involvement of the two owners who could be seen checking in frequently on the kitchen and randomly stopping by tables to introduce themselves and inquire about the food and service. One of them stopped by our table and after a short chat we were treated to tastes of some new items they were trying out. You may have experienced something like this at a restaurant before, but my sense was that this was different. These guys really mean to please and want feedback as to how they’re doing and correct things that aren’t working. Which brings me to the one year old, J Mark’s in Fort Lauderdale. This additional location has not dampened these guys desire to produce good food at reasonable prices. Even off-season there can be a wait at peak times.
So lets begin with appetizers you shouldn’t miss. I really like the Jamaican Grilled Wings. They are grilled, not breaded and have a slight sweet/sour kick from the tamarind. They’re served with a tasty dipping sauce. Also not to miss is the Ahi Tuna Appetizer with Wasabi Pesto (careful…has peanuts) and the wonderful Cajun Crusted Ahi Tuna Sliders served on mini-buns. For the meat eaters, try the Prime Rib Sliders with horseradish and basil pesto. I could make a dinner of appetizers. Actually I have!
Do you like fish? Well, surprise…I’m not a huge fish fan, but I’m warming up to it because the fish dishes here are fabulous. Every day there are at least two fresh catch specials in addition to their regular menu offerings. When available, try the Chilean Sea Bass with Miso Glaze. It’s like seafood candy. This moderately oily fish goes well with the miso glaze. Other fish you may find on special are the Red Snapper and the Swordfish, each with special preparations of the day. You really can’t go wrong. Now for the meat! Here’s what I’ve tasted and enjoyed. Top on my list is the Hawaiian Rib Eye. I know you’ve seen a marinated rib eye at other places, however this one is consistently tasty, less fatty and served to your doneness. Remember, if you’re still ordering meat medium well or well done you’re missing out on some important flavor. The 12 oz slow roasted Prime Rib is also really good here. Its served with all the trimmings, but I always ask for some teriyaki sauce on the side. Yum! They make a set amount, so when they’re out…they’re out! There are two other special cuts of beef, the 20 oz. Rib Eye and the New York Strip. Unless you’re really hungry, you’re taken some home.
Finally, Sunday brunch. J Marks does an off-the–menu brunch with no less than seven Benedict egg dishes from the Classic to one with Angus Beef tips. I haven’t tried them all, although I’m working on it, but I’ll tell you the poached eggs are done perfectly and the Hollandaise sauce is rich. If you’re several people and hungry, start out with the Smoked Fish Dip off the regular menu.
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