Mark’s Table is an intimate spot on the edge of Ginza serving New American cuisine inspired by Japanese ingredients. It offers one menu which changes about every two weeks, with special menus on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are eight seats at the counter overlooking the open kitchen and a small table for two on the side.
“I want you to feel like you are at my table,” Mark Sekita says, and he’s very easy to talk to so the conversation flows freely. Mark was born and raised in San Francisco, so it’s no surprise that the first course is a San Francisco-style clam chowder. Japanese ingredients include Kumamoto asari clams, Chiba hon-shimeji mushrooms, Hokkaido May Queen potatoes and a fumet stock made with amadai (tilefish) and buri (yellowtail).
Mark speaks highly about Japanese ingredients he’s come across. For example, mushrooms like the “meaty awabi-dake and the crunchy hanabira-take,” both of which he’s used in pastas. He likes the “bright flavors of citrus fruit like yuzu, kabosu, and shikuwasa.” “But, really, nothing can beat the freshness and the breadth of what you can find at Tsukiji Market. I could walk around there all day.”
Mark formerly worked in Tokyo in finance. After also working in finance in New York City he changed gears and went to the International Culinary Center in New York City. He then worked at Gramercy Tavern, with a somewhat similar menu – comfort food in a warm environment, with chef Michael Anthony, who also happens to have a strong Japanese connection.
The fish course is sautéed filets of winter buri served with a sauce of white balsamico, grapefruit juice, yuzu kosho, and olive oil accented with grapefruit and Japanese red and white turnips. The sauce was so good that I’ve since made a variation of it at home.
Mark’s father is Japanese and his mother is Sicilian-American. He says that he finds “inspiration in my parents” which is evident in the house-made tagliatelle that is served with his mother’s tomato sauce. Mark said that growing up his mother loved to entertain guests at their home, which may be why he’s so comfortable at the counter interacting with guests. He is trilingual and switches smoothly between Japanese, English, and Spanish.
Other dishes that have been on Mark’s menu include a kintoki carrot and ginger soup inspired from his time at Gramercy Tavern, roasted Kagoshima Fukudome pork belly, and an Ehime sea bream ceviche, “inspired by a trip to Peru”.
The wine list is evolving and at the moment features California wines to show his support after the fires that hit the wine region last year. There is also beer, shochu and whisky.
An evening at Mark’s Table is like a dinner at a friend’s house with good food and wine.
104-0061 Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 8-4-3, Yamada Bldg. 1F
Open: Mon-Fri; 5:30 – 10:00 p.m. (last order)
Closed: Sat-Sun and national holidays
Available for private reservations on weekends and national holidays with two weeks advance notice.
Mood: Warm and comfortable
Food: American inspired by Japanese ingredients
Price: Dinner course ¥9,500.