J.Mark’s is a neighborhood favorite for a reason
J.Mark’s has a great reputation and it’s easy to see why. Ever since it’s opening over 5 years ago in Pompano Beach and the opening of its second location in Fort Lauderdale, the establishment has stuck to a winning formula: phenomenal American fare, great Happy Hour specials in a friendly atmosphere.
Perfect for a business lunch, a brunch with friends or a romantic date, J.Mark’s has items for every taste. The establishment is owned by a gay couple who have been extremely involved in the GLBT community. Recently they participated in Dining Out for Life, an annual country-wide fund-raiser for those living with HIV/AIDS. They donated 100% of their sales raised at their busy dinner time to Broward House.
On a recent Sunday, I took my fiancé J out for brunch at J.Marks. What followed was a huge sampling of cocktails and a combo of favorites and new, exciting menu items.
We had been at J.Mark’s before and have enjoyed choosing from their diverse menu and having a drink and some appetizers on their spacious patio. We were excited to try items that we’ve never had before, which wasn’t going to be hard since J.Mark’s offers 60 menu items!
We started off with sampling their Bloody Mary, which was on special for their Sunday brunch (along with Mimosas). Tangy and delish, we moved onto samples of their Classic J.Mark’s Margarita, which features Camarena Silver Tequila, Triple Sec, housemade sour mix and a splash of freshly squeezed orange juice served in a salt rimmed martini glass. The refreshing drink was followed by the Classic J.Mark’s Mojito—my favorite of the day—which was made with Malibu Coconut Rum and Bacardi Rim served in a sugar rimmed martini glass and the J.Mark’s Cosmo which was made with Svedka Clementine Vodka.
Our server Patrick, was witty and helpful, and, along with knowledgeable general manager Danny Shively, started bringing out dish after dish. I know – it’s a tough job, right? I love it.
We started with some warm rolls with butter, which were pillowy soft and helped soak of some of the alcohol.
We started off by trying some of their brunch items. Their Brunch Menu is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
We had the Bacon Bennie ($12.99) which was served on toasted Tuscan ciabatta bread topped with crisp applewood smoked bacon, poached eggs and homemade hollandaise sauce, with a side of home fries. It was a wonderful start. Their hollandaise sauce is very lemony, so Danny told us that he always lets customers know this before they order it, just in case they are not fans of lemon flavor. J and I found it to be perfect—the tangy lemony touch to the creamy sauce melded perfectly with the crusty bread, bacon and fluffy eggs.
Next, we tried their Filet & Eggs ($14.99) which features grilled certified Angus beef tips, poached eggs and a side of homemade hollandaise sauce. J.Mark’s is known for their certified angus beef and it was easy to see why. The just larger than bite-sized pieces tender and juicy – the beef just melts in your mouth. Their 28 day aged Certified Angus Beef that are hand cut and trimmed by their in-house butcher daily.
We moved on to the Cheeseburger Bennie ($13.99) which J was especially excited for. It’s served on toasted Tuscan ciabatta bread topped with two grilled beef patties, cheddar cheese, poached eggs and homemade hollandaise sauce. Here was another instance where the lemony hollandaise elevated the flavor of an already great dish. The cheeseburger was juicy and decadent.
Next, we tried their most popular appetizer – the Bam Bam Shrimp ($13.99) which features crisp fried rock shrimp tossed in sweet and spicy Szechuan sauce, julienned red cabbage, chopped peanuts, diced green onions and red peppers. This was a very addictive appetizer. It was hard to stop eating the sweet—with a tiny kick of spice—crispy shrimp. But I had a job to do and that was to try a lot more dishes. Yes—there’s more.
Their Toasted Blue Cheese ($10.99), served with roasted colossal garlic, kalamata olives and toasted rosemary crostinis, was great to snack on. Blue Cheese lovers will love the strong, in a good way, flavor of the dip. I am always appreciative of roasted garlic that can be spread onto crostinis or bread like butter.
Next, we went a bit healthier with their Honey Mustard Kale Salad ($11.99). The tower of chopped kale was topped with mustard dressing, chopped peanuts, avocado, mint and red peppers. It showed that healthy doesn’t have to be boring and we were so impressed with it that I am going to try to reproduce the salad at home for a great dinner.
Their Ahi Tuna Sliders ($14.99) features Sushi-grade ahi tuna, cajun crusted seared rare on mini buns with spicy remoulade, red onions, sliced avocado and a wonton chip with wasabi and ginger soy for dipping. This was one of my favorites of the day. The perfectly seared tuna, the creamy avocado and the crisp wonton chip, dipped in that amazing sauce was heavenly.
Next we sampled J’s favorite –Skirt steak ($22.99). J is very picky about skirt steak and is always apprehensive about trying it at a non-Argentine restaurant. I am happy to report that he practically knocked my fork away to get to the tender steak, which was marinated for 24 hours in Heineken and garlic marinade and topped with salsa verde. Luckily, I did get to try some and it is definitely sensational. I will be ordering this again.
Their Miso Style Salmon ($25.99) which was pan seared with a carmelized miso glaze and served over a beurre blanc sauce was perfectly cooked. I loved the sweetness of the miso glaze paired with the creamy beurre blanc sauce.
We ended with J.Mark’s Parmesan Chicken ($13.99) which was fried chicken breast and angel hair pasta with Alfredo sauce, marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese. Just looking at this would excited any cheese lover. The dish felt a bit naughty, with the fabulously rich Alfredo sauce, the melted cheese and tender breaded chicken, but sometimes you need naughty. It was over-the-top amazing.
What impressed us the most about J.Mark’s was the way they worked their magic with all kinds of ethnic food as well. In addition to the American fare, their did Asian, Latin and Italian influenced fare with panache.
We are lucky to have such a great establishment as J.Mark’s in the center of Fort Lauderale (and Pompano). It really does fulfill every craving.
1245 N. Federal Highway
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 954-390-0770
1490 NE 23rd Street (Copans Road)
Pompano Beach. FL 33062 954-782-7000