Friday night dinners are usually our end of week budget splurge. Tonight, I had a taste for steak and we headed for J. Marks Restaurant in Pompano Beach. We’ve been to this location a few times before and both times the service and food was just “okay”. Not outstanding and not bad, just okay. But tonight was different. Halfway through our meal, we realized this wasn’t going to be a glowing review. In fact, even before the main course arrived, we were already planning our early exit strategy by agreeing to skip dessert and coffee.
We arrived as Happy Hour was in full swing. The bar area was very popular and completely filled with mostly a 55+ and older crowd. We heard they’re installing a new craft beer tap system, but available tonight was only a small selection of domestic beers.
The inside dining room is very, very dark with uneven lighting. Some booths were bright enough to read, others were too dark to see the menu. Since it was rainy and cooler out tonight, we chose the outside patio area. Unfortunately with the window shades put down for the rain, the cigarette smoke was now trapped with no breeze. The manager asked the few guests to put out the cigarettes, but they lit back up again as she walked away.
The waiter approached us with the menus and began an awkward reading of their daily specials that lasted an eternity. I’m not sure if this waiter was new or if the wait staff was given an extended list, but this presentation was just too painfully long. By the end, I’d forgotten what the first item was. We ordered off the menu and chose a steak, a seafood dish and an appetizer. we did enjoy two encores of the specials again as the tables were sat on both sides of us.
Toasted Blue Cheese ($10.99) – I’m a sucker for unique food descriptions and fall for cool sounding names every time. This dish was simply a thin layer of melted cheese on a plate with bread. Yes, there was garlic, kalamata olives and toasted crostinis, but was it worth $10.99? Most certainly not. Would I order it again? Maybe, but only if it was half the price.
Scottish Salmon ($24.99) – The healthier choice for tonight, sans the butter. A generous portion with nice grill marks. The asparagus stalks were also large and really needed to be trimmed back. Several ends were too tough to eat. And we’re still wondering why there was parsley on the plate. In fact, it was on every plate tonight.
New York Strip ($22.99) – Sadly, this was the least enjoyable “Certified Angus Beef” steak I’ve ever had. I ordered medium rare and the steak arrived on the well done side. The waiter apologized and took it back to the kitchen. But then returned a few minutes later with a flashlight saying the kitchen wanted me to double check. WHAT?? Nope, it’s still the same well done steak, so it headed back a second time.
In all my years of blogging and dining out, this was maybe the second time I’ve ever had to return food to the kitchen. But this certainly was a first I’ve ever heard of the kitchen sending it back with a flashlight. The kitchen really had the last laugh as my replacement steak was a smaller cut, extremely grizzly and cooked “black and blue”. First over-cooked, now under-cooked. I gave up at this point and ate what I could. At least the loaded baked potato was good.
Service on the patio is much different than dining inside. Inside, they have lots of wait staff and busers walking around and assisting each other with refills and clearing dishes. Outside it seems the one waiter was responsible for everything. One buser did walk by several times but he looked right past our empty dishes and glasses. The bill arrived and we promptly paid and left. Dessert and coffee instead was across the street.
Sadly, our visit to J. Marks restaurant in Pompano Beach falls into one of our least enjoyable meals. The high point of the night was their rolls and butter. Little fluffy pillows of bread and whipped butter. The low point, well pretty much everything else. Will we be back? I think for now we’ll move on and look for another steakhouse in the Pompano / Fort Lauderdale area.
J. Marks Restaurant is located in the Pompano Citi Centre, 1490 NE 23rd Street, Pompano Beach, FL 33062