A Review by Julianna Jimreivat, Ripley Stroud, and Sydney Thompson
In our opinion, Mark's Kitchen ranks number one on the list of places to eat in Takoma Park. It is usually crowded with locals laughing and conversing. Mark’s dishes range from Korean curry to American cheeseburgers.
Mark's Kitchen has been in Takoma Park since 1990, after Mark moved from Korea to America. The three of us have been going there our whole lives, so we know that Mark is comparable to a superstar in Takoma Park. Everyone knows who he is and can recognize him on the street. He says hello to customers old and new and greets them at their tables.
This small-town cafe with a vegetarian-friendly menu and strong Korean influence is a local favorite. Mark’s is great for anything from dinner out with the family to a quick cup of steaming coffee. It serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert and is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.
The best dishes stem from Mark’s Korean roots. The Bibimbap (mixed rice with vegetables), is delicious, filled with a wonderful Asian flavor. The curry is spicy and full of texture, overloading the senses with piquant fumes. The Japchae (sweet potato noodles stir-fried in sesame oil with vegetables) smells heavenly and is more than worth the $7.95.
To make the best of your time at Mark’s, indulge in the delicious Man Doo (Korean dumplings), best served fried. We have overheard many people order it, knowing just how much of a staple it is for the establishment.
Service can be slow, even during the off hours, but especially around dinner time. Although service is not ideal, it is nice to be around friendly people whom we recognize as people who live in our community.
The Veggie Burger on its own is average, made with rice and vegetables. What makes it delectable is that it is served on a croissant. It sounds questionable, but the flaky texture of the croissant complements the veggie burger and makes it special.
The Spinach Tofu Cakes are a vegetarian dish served with chilled sweet potatoes and salty yet savory string beans. The small cubes of mango sprinkled across the top make for an exciting burst of sweetness throughout the dish. The distinct flavors blend together well. It is tofu served at its best. The only issue is that it’s a tossup whether it comes hot or lukewarm each time you order it.
The classic Cheeseburger is exactly what you are looking for, yet never seem to find when ordering it at a diner. Because it is served on a warmed, seeded bun, with an option of five delicious melted cheeses, you can’t help but be satisfied. The burger, made out of black Angus beef, is cooked well done and feels like it justifies the otherwise guilty pleasure of the meal. The fries, one of the options for side dishes alongside roast potatoes and sweet potatoes, are oven baked and absolutely delicious.
The Brownie Sundae is a wonderful finishing touch to any meal. Your choice of ice cream is served on a warm brownie with hot fudge and a heaping pile of whipped cream. The cold and warm temperatures fuse in your mouth and make you think twice about sharing.
The food isn’t first class, but it’s good and the hometown feel welcomes you to come back again.