6 at 77th St.
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By Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s lofty standards, the menu at his posh restaurant in the Mark Hotel is mid-level, which is to say it contains pizza flecked with black truffles, plump crab cakes made with very fresh peekytoe, and an elegant gourmet burger (Jean-Georges’s first) garnished with a melting wad of Brie. The croque monsieur (served at lunchtime only, with Gruyère, shreds of ham from Flying Pigs Farm, and a quail egg) is a thing of beauty, and if you’re in the market for an inventive brunch dish, have the smoked-salmon pizza, which is rimmed ingeniously with an “everything bagel” crust dusted with sesame seeds, bits of garlic, and the like. These elevated comfort recipes are mingled with familiar neighborhood favorites and several excellent crudo dishes (my mother suggests the hamachi drizzled with yuzu). The entrées are more prosaic, which is understandable given Jean-Georges’s hectic schedule and the famously settled tastes of the neighborhood. The best of the generally forgettable pastas tend to be the lighter compositions (try the fettuccine with lemon and a touch of cream), and that’s true of the more ambitious dishes, too. If you have to choose between fish and beef, choose the former, particularly the expertly cooked salmon and the black bass, which is lightly grilled and set in a lemony mix of carrots and braised fennel. Despite these missteps, there’s a cheerful, even jaunty vibe to the proceedings at the Mark. A variety of palatable, fruit-themed cocktails are served in the pinkish bar area, and in the evenings, the pink dining chairs are populated by local kingpins and crowds of bespangled, whisper-thin women who may or may not be friends with Carolyne Roehm. The dessert selection is predictably French and predictably archaic including a fluffy Grand Marnier soufflé (doused with perhaps a little too much Grand Marnier) and a tired rendition of Jean-Georges’s famous molten chocolate cake.Ideal Meal
Hamachi sashimi, grilled black sea bass, Grand Marnier soufflé.