Jean-Georges Vongerichten opens a restaurant in The Mark hotel, in the Upper East Side

By Beatriz Tasso Fragoso, special contributor

It's been a while, now, that the Upper East Side has been brushing off the dust and seeing the opening of great new places, from Gagosian's boutique to beautiful parfumeries. Now, it's Jean-Georges Vongerichten's turn. The überchef, of Jean-Georges and Perry Street fame, has just opened a restaurant in the recently-refurbished The Mark hotel. (To read more about the hotel and see pics and a video, click here).

He's named it, simply, The Mark Restaurant.

Here's how the Jean-Georges himself describes the new place:

"Ten years ago, I took Marja to the bar at The Mark Hotel for our second date. I’m back at the bar now—running it and the adjoining restaurant. All to impress Marja…
Kidding aside, here’s a glimpse of how I create a restaurant. I’m so excited about opening another place on the upper east side of Manhattan. The space is simply stunning, thanks to renowned designer Jacques Grange. It feels high-end and flush, with elegant touches like these columns of light.
Grange completely gutted the old restaurant so that the main dining room has a skylight ceiling and the bar flows seamlessly to the raw bar, lounge, dining room, and private dining room. Sliding partitions, built out of this gorgeous textured wood, open up the space, but can also be closed for private parties.
To help my diners to feel completely at home here, Grange chose chairs that are as beautiful as they are comfortable.I also chose to create a menu of comforting, everyday food to contrast the refined ambiance. I'm working with my team of chefs to reinvent and perfect the rustic, classic dishes from my childhood in France.Perhaps my favorite new dish, which will debut at the Mark, is my Croque M. It’s a cross between a croque monsieur and croque madame. The secret to my decadent version? I make a Mornay sauce with gruyere and comte, then spread it on slices of fresh pain de mie. I do a triple-decker version with Flying Pig Farm ham, comte, and gruyere, then broil it with a quail egg on top. Delicious.Of course, I’m still pushing the envelope with new creations as well. Here, I’ve made a buckwheat fettuccine (as tasty as Matsugen’s soba, but completely different in this treatment), and top it with clams, mussels, sweet shrimp, crab, and uni. With a little chile, the nuttiness of the buckwheat really comes out.For dessert, pastry chef Erik Hubert returns to his French roots too. He’ll make whole cakes, like this delicate vanilla and chocolate-citrus charlotte, and serve generous slices.
Pierre Schutz (on the left), who headed my kitchen at Vong and has been with me for decades, will be the chef de cuisine at the Mark.He already has the kitchen ready to go. We’re currently providing the room service for the hotel and putting the finishing touches on our restaurant menu."*

The Mark: 77th St East, 25, tel. (212) 744-4300,

 *Jean-Georges account of the restaurant was borrowed from the chef's personal blog, linked here.