J.Mark’s has been a staple on the South Florida cuisine scene since the Pompano location was birthed by partners Ariel Ayala and Steven Koch in 2007. Fast forward to 2010, when the second location in Ft. Lauderdale joined the thriving family. J. Mark’s interior is cozy and well done, but not overly formal. Dress up or dress down…your choice. Either way, you will feel comfortable and welcomed by their attentive, gracious staff.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Ariel and Steven the week before Christmas for a private preview of the new menu that started the very next day. Over time, Ariel and Steven have taken customer feedback and tweaked the menu but never to this scale. From the wine list to appetizers and entrees, everything has been freshened up…and baby, is it fabulous!
The all-new wine list with higher quality wines rolled out at the beginning of November to their loyal clientele’s delight. Almost every wine served is available by the bottle or the glass, which is very rare in our market. Their expansive specialty cocktail menu is a big hit with offerings such as the J.Mark’s Margarita and Mango Margarita, both served “up” with house made sour mix. Be sure not to miss the deliciously refreshing Watermelon Martini with muddled fresh watermelon and Stoli O…my personal favorite! A selection of Champagne cocktails and various flavored Mojitos round out this extensive list.
I tried all of the new and some of the classic favorites and left a little heavier for the experience. The new Guacamole and Chips gives a nod to our South Florida Latin culture by losing the “chips” and featuring plantain strips in their place. Succulent jumbo lump crabmeat is available to top the already decadent Spinach Artichoke Dip. The new mussel’s appetizer is a star with the rich sauce of fresh tomatoes, garlic, shallots, white wine and marinara; I sopped up every drop with the side of crusty garlic toast!
A trio of “Sliders” including Fried Green Tomatoes, Prime Rib or Ahi Tuna make a great appetizer or have one as a snack with a small side of fries during “Happy Hour.”
Standouts in the entrée department included the slightly spicy Shrimp New Orleans with blackened shrimp, Andouille sausage, sautéed mushrooms, peppers and onions served in a Cajun cream sauce with white rice. I also loved the (almost all crab, no filler) Crab Cake entrée served with spicy remoulade and tartar sauces and a creamy coleslaw.
J.Mark’s rivals some of the finest steakhouses in town with Certified Angus Beef, aged 28-45 days and hand cut and trimmed in house steaks and burgers. A 10oz filet or New York Strip with a side of exotic mushrooms or red peppercorn sauce are the tops in this category. You can’t go wrong with any of the burgers served on a sweet brioche bun and garnished with thin cut and fried onion rings.
On the weekends, join the nice folks at J.Mark’s for brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 3pm and devour the new Croissant Benedict, washed down with $3 Mimosas or spicy Bloody Marys.
J.Mark’s huge attention to detail, use of quality ingredients, and their willingness to listen to their guests’ feedback have made both of these locations a success and will ensure a long future!
Visit J. Mark’s Pompano or Ft. Lauderdale for lunch and dinner seven days a week!
J.Mark’s Ft. Lauderdale
1245 N. Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
1490 NE 23rd St
Pompano Beach, FL 33062