Scoring last minute tickets to the Paul McCartney concert, my husband, a few friends and I cast about for a restaurant for an early dinner. We were too late for Caffe La Pastaia at the Hotel De Anza and A.P. Stumps and 71 St. Peter positively snickered when I called for reservations.
My girlfriend remembered that McCormick & Schmick's had opened in the downtown and she had fond memories of its sister in Washington, D.C. And, they had room for seven people at 5:30 p.m.
This is a fish place, so if you're into the carnivore thing, take a pass.
First off the service was great and the drinks (always one of my measuring tools) were terrific. I had the Bombay Sapphire martini, very dry and a little dirty. And that's what it was, plus very chilled.
M & S (don't say it) boasts that it changes its menu twice a day as fresh catches come in as the day progresses. They have what is called the Fresh List that sits at the top of the menu and lists the fish/seafood that is fresh for the day.
On the 7th of November, the menu sported (for example), Weiser, Idaho Rainbow Trout (my daughter's choice), Astoria, Oregon Petrale sole (husband's), Florida Bay Scallops (mine), Penguin Banks, Hawaii Ahi Tuna (friends) and bushels (?) of different oysters.
After the drinks were served and the bread arrived (sourdough, of course, and very good), we ordered a large sampler of the oysters. They were delicious--12 of the little puppies served with a horshradish and chili sauce and a champagne vinagrette. The only problem, the server neglected to tell us what kinds they were. I knew the Hama Hama and the Ominato, but the rest were mysteries...but nonetheless very fresh and nicely chilled.
My husband and I shared the "Spring Greens with Blue Cheese and Candied Walnuts." Although the greens were a bit wilted, the blue cheese was not overpowering and the oil and vinegar (with a few minced shallots thrown in for good measure) was balanced.
I ordered the Thai Style Prawns and Sea Scallops. It was good. The hot and sour broth was laced with nam pla (?--fish sauce), and the julienned vegetables were al dente, the way I like them. As for the prawns (three) and the scallops (four), they were perfectly cooked and fresh tasting.
My husband ordered the Petrale Sole-- crusted in Panko and served with a lemon butter and caper sauce. Quite good, although the Panko and the sole kind of battled each other.
My daughter, a picky nine year old who previously would only eat pasta with butter and parmesan, was convinced to try the trout. It was downed in less than five minutes. I didn't even get a chance to try it. I don't know if that says good or bad things for the preparation, but there you have it. She said it was, quote, good, end quote.
We had to scoot for the show or we would have hung out for hours--the place was just beginning to hop.