Originally posted on Blogger on May 4, 2011
I have wanted to go to McCormick & Schmick’s for AGES now, so when I saw it on the list for Orlando Restaurant Week this year, I knew it was a must-do for me. We went over for the $25 dinner (it is right down the street, how did I resist for all this time???) on Saturday and enjoyed it so much we went back for the $10 lunch the next day!
The service was fantastic, although I think our server on Sunday for lunch was a bit disappointed that we were sticking to the Restaurant Week menu with just a soda for C and an iced tea for me as beverages. He tried to upsell us several times, suggesting alcoholic beverages, additional side items, and dessert. I did feel a bit bad for him as service was a bit slow, but the two courses provided as part of the menu were more than enough food.
The decor was classy and understated, with dark wood furnishings and accents, a faux stained-glass ceiling, and booths along one wall that were set back with forest green curtains separating them from the rest of the dining room. I half expected to peer into one and see a New York style “family man” eating with his henchmen. Too many movies, I know.
We were seated immediately on Saturday night; I had made a reservation but it didn’t seem absolutely necessary. Our server was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable and was able to make recommendations and suggestions based on the questions we asked of her. For our starters, I ordered the Kobe Beef Carpaccio and C ordered the Coconut Shrimp. I was not sure what to expect from the carpaccio only having had it once before several years ago (the tuna carpaccio at Timpano’s Chophouse, also awesome if my memory serves me correctly), but I was blown away by the flavors that hit my tongue with the very first bite. The meat was tender and super flavorful, and the texture mixed incredibly with the flavors of the garlic aioli and capers that graced the top of the plate. The crostini that came with the plate had a glaze drizzled over it (balsamic?), but they became merely a vehicle on which I could pile the thinly sliced beef and carry it (somewhat) gracefully to my mouth. I may or may not have completely cleaned my plate, and would go back to the restaurant just for this dish. The fact that the rest of the meal was also good is just a plus. C’s coconut shrimp was also tasty. Nice and crisp, with a sweet chili sauce with a great tang and heat at the back of your tongue.
For our entrees on Saturday night, I ordered the Parmesan Crusted Flounder and C had the Wild Mahi. Both were very good, and the portions, especially for my flounder, were huge. The flounder had a thick crust on it and the fish was moist, although the breading was slightly overcooked on one side and as a result had a mild burnt flavor. The lemon caper butter sauce that was drizzled over the top of the fish was also delicious; I wish there had been more of it. The fish also came with mashed potatoes which were well-made but, frankly, I only had one or two bites as I was already getting quite full and the fish warranted more attention. C’s wild mahi was “cajun seared” (also overcooked on one side, unfortunately) and came with rice and a crab and corn salsa. Our server referred to it as lobster corn salsa, but either way the shellfish did not seem very present in the salsa. C loved his fish; said it was the best mahi he’d had in ages.
Ordering dessert was a bit disappointing, but only because C had wanted to try the Chocolate Silk Pie and the restaurant had run out for the night. Instead, we each ordered one of the two remaining desserts on the menu and shared bites of each. I had the Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee, which came with the perfect sugared top sprinkled with berries. My spoon made the best crackle as it broke through the bruleed sugar, dipping into the smooth custard beneath. The vanilla taste was present but not overbearing and the dessert itself was sweet without being cloying. C ordered the Upside Down Apple Pie. He grew up eating apple desserts almost every day and so really does not like to order them now, but he dug into the apples covered with tasty nutty crust and caramel drizzle. He didn’t like the cinnamon ice cream scoop that came with the pie, but that was perfectly fine with me; it went well on my creme brulee! Neither of us was able to finish our desserts; about a third of the way through we both cried uncle and put down our forks.
The meal was great. So great, in fact, that we went back for lunch the next day, as mentioned previously. Lunch started in the same way that dinner did, with a hunk of bread made with olive oil. C did not care for the flavor of the bread, but I liked the sweet olive flavor that spread through it. This time around, I ordered the Buttermilk Fried Oysters as an appetizer and C ordered the Duck Pot Stickers. I had oysters for the first time a couple of weeks ago as part of oysters rockefeller and have been a bit obsessed with them ever since. I was a little disappointed with the breading and the bed of spinach that the oysters rested on; both were far too salty for my taste. The oysters themselves, though, once I took them out of the breading and the lemon aioli drizzled over the plate were fantastic. C found the duck pot stickers to be a bit bland unless dipped heavily through the sauce drizzled over the plate. The pot stickers were nice and crisp, though, without being overdone.
For our entrees, we had the Mahi with Grilled Mushrooms and the Cashew Crusted Tilapia. Both of these were so good, although once again the mahi dish won out. My mahi came lightly grilled and laying on top of a bed of orzo mixed with spinach and mushrooms. It was mild yet delicious. I wasn’t able to finish more than a third of it, though, so it was boxed up for me and I was able to enjoy it for lunch the following day, too. C’s tilapia was cooked well, and the crust was very tasty, but the fish itself (being tilapia) was not very flavorful in comparison to his mahi dish the night before. He described the dish as “good, but nothing special.” The mahi the night before had spoiled him, apparently.
Overall, both of our meals at McCormick & Schmick’s were wonderful; each had aspects we absolutely loved. I am so happy to have found out about Orlando Restaurant Week in time to take advantage of it. Had we not, I think it would have still been quite a long time before we tried this restaurant out. Now we are talking about going over for happy hour next weekend!
Want to follow my adventures on twitter? Find me at @orlndofoodie ! 🙂