Natural light filters through the translucent, star-shaped crest in the middle of a vaulted ceiling, casting gentle rays onto a gauntlet of elegant wooden buttresses. Once the centerpiece of a 1920s church, the golden ceiling now arches over a different form of communion: diners sharing and celebrating the award-winning cuisine of Chef Mark Cox. Today’s Reserve selection welcomes you inside Mark’s American Cuisine to sample the fruits of his culinary imagination. Choose from three options:
- $190 for an eight-course chef’s tasting dinner for two and a $30 gift card
- $380 for an eight-course chef’s tasting dinner for four and a $40 gift card
- $570 for an eight-course chef’s tasting dinner for six and a $50 gift card
- $57 for a prix-fixe lunch for two—including one appetizer, entree, dessert, and soda or iced tea per person—and a $15 gift card
The seasonal menu changes on a daily basis. Peruse a sample dinner tasting menu for an idea of what to expect.
Chef Mark Cox offers a high-concept study in American cuisine, typically anchored by gourmet meats such as roasted lamb, prosciutto-wrapped quail, and smoked salmon. Entrees come accompanied with spruced-up starches, such as mushroom risotto, Mississippi-style grits, and sweet potatoes. Beyond its food, Mark’s American Cuisine is frequently lauded for its romantic atmosphere, and the reason stretches deeper than its ornate architecture and classic table linens. Chef Cox owns and operates the restaurant with his wife, Lisa, who references her former career in hotel hospitality to ensure that each guest enjoys a superior dining experience.
Though not included in this tasting menu, Mark’s American Cuisine also maintains an expansive selection of wines culled from throughout the world. A recipient of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence in 2012, the wine list spans 17 pages so that its copies can be used to soak up all of the wine in the event of a massive spill.
Mark's American Cuisine
When Mark Cox was 12, his mother made him get a job selling popcorn at a local resort. The steady summer gig soon led Mark to the resort’s kitchen, and by age 16, he had mastered everything from prep work to making sauces. Upon graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, he further refined his skills at other high-end eateries, including The Greenbriar and DC’s Four Seasons Hotel.
In 1997, he finally branched out on his own by opening Mark’s American Cuisine, which spotlights daily-changing menus of Mark’s upscale dishes. Those range from ravioli stuffed with duck, apple, and grilled Texas quail to sesame-crusted ahi tuna paired with bamboo-plum risotto. Feasts end on a sweet note with Executive Pastry Chef Sam Major’s handcrafted truffles, each of which requires 72 hours to make, including 36 spent watching chocolate grow into its natural truffle shape.
The restaurant’s wine director, Cathy Nguyen, complements meals with a 17-page list of reds and whites honored with Wine Spectator's 2013 Award of Excellence. Lunches and dinners unfold within a renovated 1920s church, where hand-painted art deco walls and natural light filtered through a golden ceiling surround candlelit tables.