Mark’s East Side Dining & Cocktails in Appleton, WI

(Him)  Wow! Finally a swanky joint to write home about. We attempted to eat here a couple of weeks ago however, the wait  was almost 2 hours and I had no patience  so we jetted for um, greener pastures (read the Sky view Club review).  So we attempted it again, and I donned the brown hat once again as I attempted to find supper club nirvana.  I may very well have found it.  Luckily, the place wasn’t that packed and we were told that  road construction and good weather had a lot to do with it.  I did it up right by ordering brandy old fashioneds as we waited for our dinner mates, Chis and Kris. The bar was  pure class and a large aquarium filled with various cichlids adorned the back wall of the bar and looked into a back dining area. I  regretted going against a friend’s advice by hatting it up as I was the only ballcap wearing fellow there. Oh well.

Kris and Chris soon showed up and we gabbed it up a bit at a table in the bar. We got seated shortly after and many tempting items were on the menu. I almost ordered the pistachio crusted Red Fish but couldn’t resist the 14 oz sirloin. I played the part of instigator and questioned Cory’s choice of Mahi Mahi and she changed her order to pan fried Walleye. We ordered an appetizer of Fried Sour Kraut Balls. Chris  (the guy) really wanted the German cuisine they normally sell but is not available on Friday nights. The waitress was of good stock and made an exception and a second menu was then provided to all that contained the German fare.  Chris the guy ordered Wienerschnitzel and Kris  (the girl) ordered pan fried chicken. Cody  (the child) at 7 months decided not to order and focused on the packet of saltine crackers  instead. Not to eat mind you, just to knock them to the floor and see how many times the fat guy would retrieve them for him. I must have picked them up 11 times. He probably thought I could use the exercise.

The Sour Kraut balls were very tasty and came with a horseradish sauce that I passed on. I had a traditional salad with good french dressing while others slurped various soups. My steak arrived and it was a thing of beauty. A little bit of blood leaked from the steak and made it’s way to the french fries on the plate. It was love at first bite. There was no need for A-1 on this night. A small cup of au jus was at my disposal and I made use of it. The steak (aged 21 days) was unworldly. Each bite was scrumptious. There was little fat on the steak(just like I like it) and I wished I could just close my eyes and enjoy every morsel in private ecstasy. The wife wondered aloud if I needed a cigarette after eating it.
I give the food a 9.87. the atmosphere at 9 and class a 9.56 (the owner came up afterwords to check in on us, even with me wearing a ballcap).
As a side note, Kris (the girl) did not like the fact that the hostess did not provide a menu right away and Chris (the  guy) took offense to some guy wearing sun glasses in the dining area. Cody (the child) didn’t appreciate the slipperiness of the cracker package.

The Mahi Mahi that got away

(Her) Mark’s East Side does not tout itself to be a supper club (they serve lunch) but for me they have come closest to the traditional supper club that I have been looking for.  They are a fine dining experience without being pretentious or pricey.  When you order drinks at the bar, they are well made.  The bartender is chatty, he gives you garlic stuffed olives because he notices you stole your husbands olives, what more could you want?  You feel just as comfortable at Mark’s in a brown ballcap as you do dressed to the nines.  Their Friday All-u-can-Eat Fish Fry is a mere $11.95 and the prices really were phenomenal considering the standard of the food received.   Finally, a restaurant that knows what beurre blancs, reductions and fresh vegetables are and how to appropriately use them.   They also could have just as easily succumbed to higher gas prices and raised the price of their food, but it doesn’t seem that they have.  Greg’s 14 ounce aged steak with rolls, salad or soup, and potato was $16.99 and I’m sure he’d gladly pay that over and over again judging by the moans coming from next to me.  The complete menu, history, and philosophy of the place is available online so there is no mystery.

For once, there were several things on the menu I wanted to try but since it was Friday, I ordered the pan fried Walleye and since the place is known for their German fare, I ordered German potato salad as my potato.  I also added clam chowder because when a menu says “famous for” or “award winning” –I’m a sucker.  The chowder definitely lived up to it’s boasting and was awesome.  The celery and potato still had a crunch to them, and the base was light.  You could tell that this soup hadn’t sat around for days thickening and getting starchy.  The pan fry was a bit soggy, but excellent tasting.  When the skin is left on the fish I just happen to think it should be nice and crispy.

The waitress went the extra mile and brought our friend the German menu even though they don’t typically serve it on Fridays.  The only thing he has ever ordered is the Weinerschnitzel and it keeps him coming back.  It’s a rave review from a guy who has spent 6 weeks in Germany on 3 separate occasions. Kris (the girl) worked at Mark’s 10 years ago and she still returns a few times a year.  Mark came by our table while we sat and digested and he seemed like a down to earth kinda guy.  He was warm and welcoming and not at all phony.

I left Mark’s with a few regrets:  I didn’t have room for dessert,  I didn’t order the bacon dressing (the house dressing they are apparently known for), and I forgot to tip the bartender.  I find solace in knowing that I will definitely be back.
Food 9.36  Service 9.93 Ambience 9.33 (this would have been a 10 had it not been for that guy with the brown ballcap, the dude in the doo-rag and  sunglasses, and those people that brought their infant.)  I really can’t say enough about this place.

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