I was one of the first supporters of MarkJoseph Steakhouse (MJS) many months ago, but have been very disappointed recently with both the food and the service. These problems are made worse by the fact that the management choose to significantly increase prices when the menus were reprinted. Some items jumped as much as nine dollars ($9). The increases on the wine list were even worse. The wine list also no longer contains a number of excellent California wines that were available when they first opened.
On my last two trips to MJS I have noticed a definite decrease in both the size and quality of the cuts of meat. I have been with a number of friends and family so I can comment on a number of different steaks. The filet is no longer as large or as tender. The porterhouse is looking more like a T-bone (the filet is very small) and is lacking in flavor. The sirloin, which i enjoyed on two of my first four visits to MJS, is significantly smaller (even with the price increase) and lacks a sufficient fat content to provide flavor and tenderness. The only meat item that has remained of high quality is the Canadian Bacon, which has interestingly remained at it original price.
Now I realize that most steakhouse focus primarily on steaks and the sides (ie potatoes and vegetables) but this does not mean that these side dishes should be tasteless and poorly prepared. The hash browns that originally were golden-brown, fully cooked, and moist with flavor, are now dry, tiny pieces of potato, overcooked with excessive amounts of onion added in attempt to provide moisture. The mashed potatoes are now extremely watery (i guess to keep them from drying out) The broccoli and spinach are now prepared without care and additional seasoning. Finally, the baked potatoes are now so large, that they cannot be properly cooked, or MJS does not know how to cook them. It appears that in order to cook the large tatters all the way thru, they are willing to accept that the outer half of the potato is overcooked to the point that it is dry and tasteless. When MJS first opened, all of the side dishes were exceptional but now the lack of pride in the restaurant shows in both the steaks and vegetables.
Accompanying the downhill slide of the food quality is the service. It appears that MJS has only a single waiter who can serve in a manner consistent with the image that MJS is trying to uphold. If you dont get that waiter (happened twice recently because it was his day off), things can be a disaster. The wait staff seems to feel that piling some of each persons side dish onto everyone elses plate is necessary and they seem upset if you only want what you specifically ordered. Also, comments and gestures made while members of my dining party were ordering totally inappropriate. Following my most resent experience (likely my last) at MJS, I informed the Maitre D of these problems and was surprised by his lack of interest in ensuring my continued patronage, or fixing the problems I brought to his attention.