TWO GUYS AND TWO PLANS: They met a dozen years ago at Vidalia, became fast friends and talked for a long time about opening a restaurant of their own. Late last month, Mark Medley, a former waiter at the nearby Pesce, and his pal Orlando Hitzig, an alumnus of the kitchens at Blue Point Grill in Alexandria and 701 in Washington's Penn Quarter, finally made good on their daydreaming.
Mark and Orlando's (2020 P St. NW; 202-223-8463), two ideas in one, is the result of their Dupont Circle collaboration.
The ground floor is known as Orlando's, "the serious" part of the restaurant, says Hitzig. The chef's meals start with a quartet of bread spreads (tomato butter, bean dip, peanut butter and regular butter) and conclude with house-churned ice cream in rare flavors such as basil and curry. In between, diners might find a smoked fish plate, crab cakes with goat cheese bread pudding, lamb steak with french fries and pasta tossed with jumbo shrimp, tomato and eggplant. Lunch and dinner menus change daily.
Upstairs awaits Mark's, which celebrates "the lighter side of the world," according to Hitzig. In contrast with the small dining room on the street level -- paved with a marble floor and decorated with copper cooking equipment and French maps -- Mark's displays a flat-screen TV, parquet floors and a cocktail list. Light fare is the drill in this evening-only venue.
Handsome stone steps lead up to the entrance. The work of local artists brightens the interior. A neighborhood abundant with good places to eat appears to have gotten a little richer.
Lunch entrees $9-13; dinner entrees $18-$22.