THE MARK RESTAURANT BY JEAN-GEORGES | New York Lifestyles Magazine

THE MARK RESTAURANT BY JEAN-GEORGES


Elegant Cuisine With A Modern Edge

By Anne Raso

Before you even ask, The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges inside The Mark Hotel at 77th and Madison will meet a jaded NYC foodie’s expectation and then some. Everything that master chef and restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten attaches his name to gathers a tremendous amount of media attention—and The Mark Restaurant lives up to JGV’s high standards of freshness and simplicity. 

The restaurant is right off the modernized Mark Hotel lobby with its maze-like black and white tiled flooring and modern lighting. The Mark Restaurant’s décor includes oversized deep upholstered chairs, textured gray fabric wall coverings, geometric lights installed on the edges of the hallway entrances, and striped gold, tan, and black carpeting. All this creates a sleek yet comfortable dining experience; you will want to slink deep into your cushy chair and never leave.

54 01JJean-Georges Vongerichten

JJean-Georges Vongerichten

A LONG HISTORY
The legendary Jean-Georges is very hands-on with his numerous eateries, including the selection of his kitchen staff. He has known The Mark Restaurant’s Executive Chef Pierre Schutz for over three decades, so it comes as no surprise that they have worked in the same kitchens and teamed up on creating the trademark Mark Restaurant style.

Schutz shared his exciting journey to The Mark Restaurant kitchen with New York Lifestyles, which began in Europe. “I worked in Switzerland, cooking in different hotels, really perfecting my culinary craft and understanding the world of luxury hospitality. In 1985, I was hired by the Lafayette Hotel in Boston, where I had the privilege of meeting Jean-Georges. Soon after, We worked together in New York City at The Drake Hotel. This is where I discovered how much I loved being in the kitchen with him.” Following this, Schutz moved to Asia, as the Head Chef at The Westin Chosun in Seoul, South Korea. “I worked there for over a year and immersed myself in Eastern cooking and ingredients, which is why I think our French-Asian fusion at The Mark Restaurant has become so popular.”

Because Schutz possessed excellent French culinary roots and extensive experience cooking in the Eastern provinces, Jean-Georges invited him to help open Vong restaurant in New York City. “I worked there as a chef for 15 years. During this time, Jean-Georges started to open many restaurants worldwide and extensively grow his brand. Once Vong closed in 2009, I began the best cooking experience of my career.”

54 02Grilled Black Sea Bass ©Caroline Voagen Nelson

Grilled Black Sea Bass ©Caroline Voagen Nelson

SPONTANEITY & TEAMWORK
You will notice that the menu at The Mark Restaurant runs the gamut from fresh seafood (including guest favorite Tuna Tartare) to homemade pasta to American comfort food classics like grass-fed steaks and even Butterscotch Pudding. Scattered throughout are unusual mixes that are pure culinary genius like Lamb Chops over Sautéed Broccoli Rabe, Pizza topped with Truffle Paste, and Homemade Caramel Corn over Caramel Gelato. Schutz revealed that The Mark’s exciting dishes are often created when he and JGV are tossing ideas off their heads. “We work closely together as a culinary team. Jean-Georges is extremely hands-on, and the restaurant never introduces a new dish without his full approval. We meet weekly—even daily if necessary—discussing new dishes and new ingredients. The best times are when we experiment in the kitchen together.”

QUICK BITES
By Sean-Patrick M. Hillman

54 03

I began learning to cook at the ripe old age of five. My Mother was a foodie. She helped to found one of the single most important and celebrated food organizations in the world, the James Beard Foundation. It is because of this that I have spent virtually my entire life surrounded by some of the most renowned chefs in history. So of course I find cooking and entertaining cathartic. But I also love the science behind cooking…blending flavor profiles and coming up with fun and unique recipes. This one is a personal favorite. They are so easy to make and are full of flavor. I designed the recipe to be simple so that anyone could make these, especially as they don’t require a lot of time and allows you to entertain your guests.

Sweet & Spicy Sliders

INGREDIENTS:2 pounds Ground Meat (beef, Bison, Turkey)
Salt And Pepper
4 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Large Vidalia Onion, Diced
1/2 cup Bourbon, Aged or Spiced Rum
1 cup Barbecue Sauce
1/4 cup Fresh Jalapeno Slices
12 whole Slider Buns

PREPARATION:
Form the meat into 12 (or so) miniature patties and salt and pepper them on both sides. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook the patties until just about done in the middle, approximately 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the patties from the skillet and set aside. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of grease, then return the skillet to the stove.

Throw the diced onions in the skillet and stir to cook, about 3 minutes. Pour in Boubon/Rum (be careful if you’re cooking over an open flame; turn it off momentarily to be extra careful) and stir. Allow the alcohol to reduce by half, about 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in jalapenos and the barbecue sauce.

Reduce the heat to low and place the patties in the barbecue sauce, turning to coat. Allow the patties to simmer in the sauce until everything’s hot and bubbly.

Place the patties on individual buns and be sure to spoon extra sauce (with the jalapenos!) over the top of each one before topping with the other half of the bun

As an added tip, I have found that if you purchase a base coleslaw from your local grocery store, and add a little honey and Dijon mustard, it helps to bring down the level of heat if you have guests that don’t like spicy foods. •

LOOKING AHEAD
According to Schutz, The Mark Restaurant menu will always feature seasonal foods, focusing on the freshest ingredients available to us. “We have wonderful relationships with many local farmers,” he explained, “who ensure that we have the best batch of the upcoming harvest.”

When we visited earlier this year, we sampled some of the creative vegan and vegetarian-friendly fare which delighted us—particularly the Tuna Tartare, as mentioned earlier and freshly made pasta with garden-fresh sauces and artisanal cheeses. Schutz stated, “We have focused on this area in the past few years and are proud to share that our menus now include a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian options. Our kitchen is also known amongst our clientele as being one of the most accommodating in New York City—there is no dietary request that we cannot do for our guests. I think that this is another reason why we have such a strong group of repeat diners. We always remember their specifications.” 

When we visited earlier this year, we sampled some of the creative vegan and vegetarian-friendly fare which delighted us—particularly the Tuna Tartare, as mentioned earlier and freshly made pasta with garden-fresh sauces and artisanal cheeses. Schutz stated, “We have focused on this area in the past few years and are proud to share that our menus now include a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian options. Our kitchen is also known amongst our clientele as being one of the most accommodating in New York City—there is no dietary request that we cannot do for our guests. I think that this is another reason why we have such a strong group of repeat diners. We always remember their specifications.” 

SEEING STARS
You could hear the excitement in Schutz’s voice when he spoke of the restaurant’s stellar guests. “I have served many celebrities. I would never have had a chance to serve these people anywhere else. I am a big tennis fan, and being Swiss-born, having prepared a meal for Roger Federer was a fantastic moment.

“However, the highlight will always be Jean-Georges! We produce the best dishes together, and that keeps things exciting for our guests. I also must say that after more than three decades of working in the luxe hospitality field and cooking at some of the best hotels in the world, none have ever had the caliber of A-list celebrities like The Mark Restaurant does—and on a very consistent basis.”

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Schutz loves that The Mark Restaurant (which just celebrated its 10th anniversary) keeps things “fresh and simple” with a French-Asian flair. He concluded with a smile, “There is always a healthy dose of both—this allows us to stick to some classic French culinary while being experimental with the exciting use of Asian ingredients in a lot of our dishes. We are here at The Mark Restaurant to excite our customers, but at the same time as a hotel, we also understand the appeal of the strong French influence. We adhere to a simple sophistication that exudes the modern luxury that the hotel has become synonymous with. We offer a vast selection of menu options, which I think ensures that there is something for everyone. We have used the successful Jean-Georges formula while adding a bit of The Mark flair.”

For more info on The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges, go to themarkrestaurantnyc.com. Reservations are recommended. 

The Mark Restaurant has been providing a bespoke menu curated by JGV. A selection of the restaurant's most popular breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes are now available from 11 am to 10 pm for all to enjoy. For more information, call 212-606-3161.

54 04The Atrium with tables

The Atrium with tables