By the glass: eight dessert wines and eight ports ($6.50-$45). On a cart: cheeses ranging from nutty Italian pecorino to sharp Gruyère from the caves of France ($14-$18). From a soufflé cup: puffs of steam as the impeccable brown butter and hazelnut soufflé gets punctured and the waiter pours in a rich Bailey's chocolate sauce. Pastry chef Pamela Michaels has a tough act to follow, but she does so with aplomb -- sometimes with many plums. The half-dozen offerings (all $9), which also change nightly, smartly appeal to various cravings: banana split for heavyweights, sorbet for lightweights, bittersweet chocolate cake for chocoholics, and, for those seeking comfort, three timbales of moist and chunky upside-down apple-carrot cake with lemon-ginger sauce anglaise.
Unlike the valet attendants at the Nash who required payment up-front, I've courteously waited till the end to relay that first impression: a $25 dollar parking fee. Or shall I say $25 with a $15 option, the difference loosely defined as "a ten-minute wait after handing in your stub." Considering the prices charged at Mark's, surely they can afford to pick up part of the parking tab. After all, the valet isn't just the first impression, but the last as well. Well, maybe next to last. The final feeling retained would be just how gratifying a dining experience Mark's really provides.