Visited: 9/2/06, Saturday @ 6:00, pre-theater dinner
Ambience: Casual and clean. Not too fancy, but I would say you shouldn’t show up in shorts. Nice lighting.
Service: Decent service for the price. Don’t sit by the kitchen, it was VERY loud.
Price: Reasonable, (~$160 for 2)
Preface – I hate chains.
This was an exception to my hate. I was very surprised at the quality of the food, the presentation and the service. Granted, I had never been to a McCormick & Schmick's, so I was tricked into this chain. But still... let me tell you about our experience.
(Oysters on the half shell) – I picked three different types of oysters, two each to begin. I was originally a little worried being in Dallas, farrrrrrr from the ocean. I asked how often they got their fish/oyster shipments, and the answer was everyday. Good answer. They came out fresh and cold. No smell. Very good things for oysters. The were served with mignonette sauce, that yummy vinegar and shallot mixture and of course, lemon and chili sauce on a bed of ice. Great taste... yum, yum, yum.
(Rhode Island Fried Calamari with Three Dipping Sauces) – I can’t exactly remember all three dipping sauces, but there was a creamy, mayonnaise one (which I never like), a tomato based sauce (the one we used), and another which I can’t remember. The calamari was fresh (not chewy or tough) and the batter was light. It was not the best calamari I have ever had, but definitely FAR from the worst. I would order it again.
(Seasonal Mixed Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette) – Fresh greens without a hint of iceberg. Yeah!! No weird wilted pieces as you sometimes get. The Vinaigrette was standard, but yummy. Who doesn’t like Balsamic? Now, my boyfriend ordered this salad sans the gorgonzola, but they forgot and added it. I was happy as I do love a good gorgonzola (heheehhe). Standard fare.
(Washington Red King Salmon) – this originally came with some crazy sauce, but we asked to just have it grilled – no problem. It came with a little lemon butter sauce, but thankfully on the side. I guess they thought the fish needed something. They were wrong. King Salmon, if prepared right, speaks for itself. This one did... it said “eat me”.... Oh, sorry. We had it cooked medium-rare, and for the first time since we’ve been in Texas, we didn’t get the look. You know, the look where you must have three heads?
(Sea Scallops) – I can’t remember the exact name of this dish, but it came on a crab cake with a port wine reduction sauce. The crab cake was very creamy and huge. The sea scallops were cooked properly (not tough and chewy) and the port reduction was a nice additive. Not a wonderful dish, but nothing to really complain about.
We shared a bottle of Pinot Noir with dinner (I should be better at writing this stuff down), and a piece of Key Lime Pie for dessert. I love Key Lime Pie, and as long as you make it with Key limes, it is pretty hard to screw up. So, I liked it.
Overall this restaurant was a very pleasant surprise. I will visit again. For what it is (a chain in the mid-range) I think I will have to give it a 3 of 5 stars. I surprise even myself.