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Mark’s Kitchen, Takoma Park, MD

Karen and I have been friends…well literally forever.  Her parents and my parents have been friends since they lived in Trinidad, long before we were even a glimmer in their eyes.  She is exactly 18 months older than I am, and her parents brought her over to see me when my parents first brought me home from the hospital.  Apparently her way of saying hello was to smack me across the face.  We attended each other’s birthday parties, her parents threw a kick-ass New Year’s Eve party every year that we were able to stay up for as long as we could, and either family would do anything for the other.

I hadn’t seen Karen in a couple of years, so when the opportunity for us to meet for dinner arose, we both jumped at it.  She’s living in Takoma Park, so we decided to go to Mark’s Kitchen for dinner.  As Karen so eloquently put it, Takoma Park is very “crunchy”.  There’s a lot of vegetarians, people are very into everything organic, and a lot of the community grows their own fruits & vegetables.

Karen’s been a vegetarian since she was 11, when they lived in Ecuador.  Her theory is, if it moves, she doesn’t eat it.  My dad’s also a vegetarian, but more on that later. So this restaurant was perfect for them, because it had both vegetarian and vegan items on the menu.  And of course, items for the carnivore in me.  The owner was there, in the kitchen…that wins huge points with me.

We started with the seaweed salad.  Karen said it would be really good, but I have to admit I was more than a little hesitant, so my dad and I also got the baby lettuce salads.  I tried a little of the seaweed and it was okay, but I decided to let her eat that and focus on my side salad.  The tomatoes and cucumber were organic, and you can definitely taste the difference.  I wouldn’t normally buy organic veggies cause they’re a lot more expensive, but when it’s in my salad, I’m golden.

For dinner, my dad got the Tofu Bento Box.

Mark's Kitchen, Takoma Park MD - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Grilled tofu, zucchini, eggplant, honey soybeans, roast seaweed, shiitake mushroom, steamed rice or brown rice & mung bean pancake

Karen got the barbecued tofu

Mark's Kitchen, Takoma Park MD - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Tofu sautéed in a spicy bbq sauce & served w/ brown rice, cherry tomatoes & green beans

They both looked good, and my dad completely cleaned his plate so I’m assuming it tasted just as good.  I don’t do tofu so I didn’t try any of it.

I decided not to be super adventurous, so I went with the Korean Short Ribs

Mark's Kitchen, Takoma Park MD - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Beef ribs marinated in our special sauce w/ fried rice, steamed carrots & green beans

The ribs were really good.  They were cooked well, and had great flavor.  The veggies were cold, and that was disappointing.  I’m not sure if that was on purpose…as an appetizer cold veggies are normal; with dinner, they should be hot.  The rice was good.

We also had lemonade…I think it was the strawberry lemonade.  Whichever it was, it was awesome.  Freshly mixed when you order, I could have drunk about a gallon of it.

For dessert we got the pecan pie–which I love, even though I don’t eat raw pecans.  We asked for ginger ice cream…and got vanilla.  But the pie was good enough that it canceled out the wrong ice cream. It was a great way to finish off the meal.

Will I go back?  Probably, if for no other reason than to drink more of the lemonade!  I do also want to try other stuff on the menu.

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