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J. Mark’s Restaurant Review

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Category : American, Hamburgers

J. Marks RestaurantJ. Marks Restaurant isn’t exactly new to the strip on Federal Highway.  In fact I’ve driven past it dozens of times without really putting much thought to trying it.  I guess my reluctance was because of the fact that the name doesn’t really tell you much about what you’ll find inside.

Had it not been for a referral, countless months would have gone by without me having tried the dish I am about to review for you.

I am fairly sure I have seen other locations of J. Mark’s Restaurant in the area (Google Search…) yes, there are a couple in Boca Raton and others in Broward County.  The one Brandon and I reviewed is one located on North Federal Highway just a little north of Sunrise Blvd.

J Mark’s Restaurant
Website: Yes
Phone: (954) 390.0770
City: Fort Lauderdale
Location (map): S. Federal Hwy
Delivery: No
Outdoor seating: Yes
Lunch $: $9-$14+ approx.
Dinner $: couple dollars more than lunch

Pricing is higher than a lot of the little shops we often frequent, however we didn’t see anything that would break the bank (so to speak).  There were plenty of options from the $10-14 range.  They have a varied American menu with chicken, seafood, pasta and other varieties. Parking is easy and free.

Todd’s review of the Blue Peppercorn Burger

J. Marks Restaurant Blue Cheese Burger with friesThe search for the “best burger the world has to offer” is a never ending quest.  In fact we tread in dark waters when we bring the subject up to the zealous fans of places like In-and-Out, 5 Guys (which we love) and other famous places.

A recent tip off from a friend that J. Mark’s Restaurant had something special was enough of an excuse for us to visit and see for ourselves.

We arrive right around noon and are happily greeted by several hosts and seated promptly.  Our waiter explained several specials while we browsed the menu, even though we already knew what we were going to try.  Deciding which burger (of their handful of varieties) was the only notable decision we had to make.

Reading the description of the Blue Peppercorn Burger sold me instantly.  I asked the waiter how medium and medium well look.  His description was detailed and I chose to get my burger cooked medium well which had a thin section of pink within the burger.  It only took about 10 minutes and the food was ready and delivered to our table.

Now for the good part: So my burger is sitting in front of me, but I must wait to try it as I whip out my iPhone and snap a couple pictures.  Mouth salivating, I dab a little ketchup on the burger and then take a hearty bite.  There are so many flavors and textures to analyze at once that my brain can’t quite make up its mind.  It’s literally 10 seconds later I start nodding my head saying “yeah, I think this one’s a winner.”  Indeed it was!

The chuck that is used to make the burger contains minced onion and bacon.  I am not a bacon fanatic by any means, but the subtle addition makes for one of the best hamburger patty’s I’ve ever tried… really!  In addition to some fabulous flavors a side result is that the burger is extra tender, somehow like getting the prime part of a steak.  Just as the waiter said, the burger was cooked to perfection with a thin ribbon of pink within making for a perfectly cooked meal.  Topped with blue cheese, red onion and fresh cracked pepper I’d have to say that this burger pretty much destroys all other ‘gourmet’ style burgers I have tried (including the famous Rosebud Restaurant burger from Chicago I had).

Last and certainly not least is the bun.  I often refer to the bun as the most underrated part of a burger.  This one was toasted slightly and I assume dabbed in butter to give it a perfect crispness while still plenty moist on the inside.  The texture complimented the fine flavors perfectly.

Alas a new discovery that finds a top spot in our review section!  The fries were hot and fresh, but certainly not the best fries I’ve ever had.  The burger…. yeah, it’s all about the burger in reality anyway.

The service was actually near 5 star.  I don’t know if the waiter (Jeff) was tipped off that a review crew was coming or not, but he provided us with superb service which helped compliment a perfect burger.  Walking to the car after lunch I was happy and content and yet puzzled that this new discovery existed for so long with me knowing.  So bottom line time… best burger in south Florida? It’s such an important question, but as of right now, I would have to answer with a “yes!” Honestly, I don’t know what they could do to make it better.  If I figure it out, I’ll post my finding here of course!

Todd’s score: 96/100
Pros:
A perfect burger…yeah, I scored it higher than 5 guys!  Perfect service.
Cons: Fries were ‘standard’, prices are slightly higher than typical lunches ($10).

Brandon’s review of the Cheese Burger

J. Marks Restaurant Cheese Burger with Sweet Potato friesIt’s going to be tough to match Todd’s review on this one. I really wish I hadn’t read it before I had to write my review but here goes anyway.  Just to let you know, I love Five Guys burgers and fries.  In fact, before eating at J. Marks, I would say that Five Guys burger was probably my favorite that I could name off the top of my head.  I’ve had so called “gourmet burgers” all over the country including in New York, Las Vegas and San Francisco. I loved In n Out burgers (only available on the west coast) and thought they were pretty darn good until Five Guys opened near us down in Fort Lauderdale – and in my humble opinion, Five Guys smokes In n Out.  I’d rather have Five Guys than pretty much any other burger I’ve ever tried – that is until a few days ago when Todd and I stumbled upon J. Marks.

We were actually on our way to Jets Pizza (killer pizza btw) but on the way there saw J. Marks on the road which Todd mentioned had been recommended by a friend as her favorite burger of all time. Given that we are expert food critics, we were skeptical of the so-called “gourmet burger” but decided to give it a try.  That decision may have changed my life forever.

We arrived just before noon and J. Marks wasn’t very busy yet so we were seated promptly. Our waiter (Jeff?) was very efficient and friendly and provided us with menus and took our drink orders. Of course we both already knew that we would be ordering burgers, but we didn’t realize that there were actually a few distinct options. Todd went with the blue cheese burger which I was sooooooo tempted to order because I do love blue cheese, especially on steak, but something about the “classic cheeseburger” called out to me. Jeff informed us that the burgers at J. Marks were made with beef that was pre-mixed with bacon and onion which further intrigued me. I do like bacon, but not a lot of it at once.. It can be overpowering – so I was a little worried when he mentioned this fact, but still went ahead with the order.  I also decided on the sweet potato fries which are a nice change-up from the potato fries that accompany most burgers.

After a short wait, our meals arrived and the burgers certainly looked good enough, but it wasn’t until about 15 seconds after the first bite that I realized we had a true winner on our hands. It really did take a few seconds for my brain and taste-buds to realize what was happening in my mouth and when that realization occurred, I was in heaven. The burger was delicious. A delicacy. I really couldn’t believe what I was tasting.. and even now while writing this I worry that the experience was a fluke and will never be repeated. The meat was perfectly cooked (I ordered it medium). The cheddar cheese was perfectly melted. The red onions on top were crisp. The bun was perfectly fresh, chewy and buttery all at the same time. The combination of it all was uniquely perfect.  The burger was quite large actually and while I was very hungry, I was still barely able to finish it despite how delicious it was – yet I did finish it all including the sweet potato fries which were also quite good (though not as good as the burger itself).

It is a rare event when I am so unexpectedly and pleasantly surprised by food nowadays. I honestly walked into J. Marks thinking it was just going to be another fancy gourmet burger with the usual “good but not great” outcome. This, my friends is great. No – great does not do this burger justice. If you like burgers you MUST go here and try it. I hope it wasn’t a fluke or one time event and that next time I go it will be disappointing. If so, I’ll remember this as the best burger I ever ate, even if it was a one-time experience. Yes, food fans (and burger fans especially), you owe it to yourself to give J. Marks a try. Hopefully you will not be disappointed – I pray that I won’t be next time I go!

Brandon’s score: 98/100
Pros: Best burger I’ve ever eaten and that’s saying a lot. Perfect size, perfect proportion of ingredients, excellent service, great sweet potato fries.
Cons: Bun gets a little soggy if you don’t eat fast enough. This wasn’t a problem for me because I ate like a maniac – only the last few bites had any sense of imperfection.

Comments (1)

I must concur that was by far the best burger I have ever tasted. I plan on taking my whole family there soon so they can enjoy the best burgers on the planet.

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