I went to MarkJoseph this week based on the positive reviews here on Chowhound and I was not disappointed. Great food in the Peter Luger style, minus the gruff waiters and with fresher decor. My friend and I shared a porterhouse for 2, creamed spinach, snap peas, and hash browns. All were first rate and fairly priced.
The only diappointment was the beverages. I have long been accustomed to restaurants doubing the retail price of a bottle of wine although it always rankled a bit. It seems fair to pay up for a skilled kitchen staff and the cost of prime ingredients. One of the reasons that the "better" restaurants are better is that they make a significant investment in this area. Wines are different - basically they pop the cork and pour and provide no added value.
Keep in mind that I am NOT referring to exotic vintage bottles but to wines commonly available at moderate prices ($20 - $30) in any good wineshop. Anyway, MJ's has taken the art of price markup to a new level. They TRIPLE the price of their wines. Thus, a bottle that is $25 around the corner magically morphs into a $75 marvel once it crosses MJ's threshold. Maybe the triple markup is becoming common but I don't have to like it. (BTW, our total bill came to $185 with the tip - we finished off our meal with a single malt scotch. I don't mind spending money but I object when someone tacks an additional 50% on a "reasonable and customary" price.)
Anyway, I exercised my right of choice and asked what beers they had available. We zoomed straight back to 1985. "Bud, Bud Light, Coors Lite, Stella Artois (how did that get there?) and Sam Adams." My friend and I waited expectantly for more varied selections but that was it. Anchor? Sierra Nevada? Brooklyn Brewery? Stoudts? Nope. We wound up ordering pints of Sam Adams and shaking our heads.
Based on the contents of the early posts on MJ's their business is picking up. I was there on a Tuesday night and the place was about 65% full. I'll certainly go back to MJs and will recommend it to others. The food is excellent but the beverage pricing and selection could use some serious retooling.
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