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The Gossiping Gourmet: Still on the Mark after two years

February 06, 2013|By Elle Harrow and Terry Markowitz
  • The veggie tower is a colorful and tasty appetizer at the new reMark's in Laguna Canyon.
The veggie tower is a colorful and tasty appetizer at the… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

Mark's — renamed ReMark's — recently reopened in Laguna Canyon on the site of his original restaurant that has been shuttered for two years. Mark DePalma tells us proudly that his 11-year-old daughter Ashley suggested the clever new moniker.

What remains the same is Mark's inimitable charm, the original dining room and the patio. What's new is the remodeled bar area with its tall tables and high stools. This time, he's focusing entirely on small plates (although we found most of them to be quite generous).

Also new is the Saturday night lounge with a DJ and dancing after 10 p.m. Comfortable lounge furniture on the heated patio provides a warm, cozy spot to nibble on goodies from the late-night menu. Short rib sliders with blue cheese on brioche, crispy chicken burgers served with fried green tomatoes, chilaquiles and chicken Caesar salad are a few of the tempting items offered.

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Seated in the small, cozy dining room, decorated with large, mutedly colored, abstract paintings, we perused the new menu while munching on excellent hot, crusty wheat bread and selected a number of appetizers.

Accolades and encomiums go to the roasted tomato soup; it was the best we have ever tasted. It was a light and delicious puree with some texture as well. The roasting of the tomatoes seems to make all the difference, adding depth of flavor. Delicious small leaves of basil throughout contributed an herbal spark.

We were also impressed with the filet mignon tacos made with chunks of high-quality beef, stuffed into small, thin flour tortillas that were very tender and tasted freshly made. The excellent garnishes included a tart, lime tomatillo sauce, sour cream, tomato salsa and chopped avocado. Put it all together and you've got some tasty eating.

Less successful was the ahi stack. The fish itself had no flavor. Mixing together the accompanying wasabi, soy sauce and a squiggle of seasoned mayo perked it up. The advertised jalapeno was nowhere in evidence. It did come with some good flour tortilla chips for scooping.

Since we all know that tomatoes are generally lousy in winter, fried green tomatoes make a nice alternative. These were made from slightly riper tomatoes with a bit of juiciness. They had a crisply fried panko crust and were served with a very flavorful, zippy, ranch, smoky chipotle dipping sauce.

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