The last time we went to McCormick and Schmicks, we were sort of impressed by how much we liked the food we had. We hadn’t been back though, and after perusing various menus online, I was convinced by this picture. It was also the last weekend of Devour Downtown, although we were never offered the menu. That was fine with us because we wanted to order from the regular menu, but I think when Devour Downtown is going on, the menu should be offered from the start.
We had an exceptionally friendly server who was very attentive for at least the first half of the meal, until things really starting picking up and everyone seemed to get a little harried. But we had our wine, and some nice chewy light sourdough bread to munch on. I got the tower I showed you before, the Dungeness crab with mango, avocado and orange vinaigrette. I love love love Dungeness crab and when I lived in San Francisco, a whole crab was frequently our Sunday meal. It is very challenging to find it here and I almost always order it if I see it. Of course, once I had ordered it, and started talking to hubby, I realized that it wasn’t actually Dungeness crab season (fall-winter) and I could be in trouble. Well, it was disappointing. First of all, look at my picture compared to the one on the website (and I apologize for how dark they are). Where were my big hunks of leg meat? That was a serious let down. The crab meat tasted ok, but there were no large pieces that made you feel like you were getting something really special. Furthermore, while the avocado was perfectly ripe and soft (and plentiful), the mango was not very ripe and therefore, hard and with a dull flavor. The vinaigrette was on the bottom of the tower, and there wasn’t enough to balance out the large amounts of the other ingredients. I was a little bummed with this appetizer.
Hubby had the oyster po boy which was much better than my crab tower. It was served open-faced which made it a little challenging to eat (had to be eaten with a knife and fork pretty much) but the flavors were nice. It was a nice grilled piece of bread with several perfectly fried medium sized oysters on top and the whole thing was drizzled with a pleasantly spicy remoulade. He definitely won on the appetizer that is for sure. I had several bites and while my dish wasn’t worth ordering again, this one was. I also liked the fact that they have several “small plates” that are very reasonably priced that you could get as appetizers or out of which you could make a nice tapas meal.
We shared a salad, the same salad we had last time, which is very nice. It is the house salad, and is made up of lettuce, candied walnuts and blue cheese with a nice tangy vinaigrette. We both really enjoyed this salad again (and had more than enough even with a half portion). The balance between the vinaigrette and the sweet nuts is a combination that I love, and one that I duplicate at home quite a bit.
For our main dish, we shared the phyllo wrapped halibut which was baked, and topped with a lemon butter sauce with chives. I enjoyed this dish as well. The fish may have been a teeny bit overcooked if I am being really particular, but not enough to make a huge difference. I know it can be hard to tell exactly when something is done when it is wrapped up in phyllo and baked. The fish was still fairly tender and the sauce added a nice flavor to go along with the soft interior and the crunchy phyllo, even if I would have liked a touch more of the sauce. This is another place where the sides are being phoned in I think—everyone is getting the same sides and they aren’t really that great. Very plain. I said it in my last review of this restaurant, and I have said about other places. I don’t get when restaurants put mediocre sides on a plate just to fill it up. It annoys me because I am guessing most of the time the food just ends up in the garbage which is a complete waste.
Simply because we saw this dessert walk by earlier in our meal (and hey, we split an entrée right?) we split the s’mores sundae. This was one of the bigger and more expensive desserts on the menu. And for sure, it is large enough to share. It was made up of a large brownie with rocky road ice cream on top, and marshmallow cream which was then lightly burnt on top to give it that taste of roasted marshmallows. I loved the singed marshmallow topping with the ice cream. The brownie itself wasn’t overly spectacular-- it was a little dry-- but served as a decent base on which to pile all the other stuff.
After having such a surprisingly good meal the first time I went, I was kind of let down with McCormick and Schmick’s. I do appreciate their portion sizes compared to a lot of places around town (they are much more moderately sized and priced), but I wish there was a little more attention to detail going into the food as well.
McCormick and Schmick’s
110 North Illinois Street