Listen to Merle on "Real Talk with Jim Lisa"
May 13, 2021
WHERE THE FRESHEST FISH IS FOUNDSeafood lovers, be on the alert! McCormick & Schmick’s (212-459-1222) recently opened in Manhattan and you won’t be disappointed. The restaurant located on the corner of 52nd and Sixth Avenue (aka Avenue of the Americas), replaced a former steakhouse and deserves more than a round of applause.
I don’t usually describe the décor and service of a restaurant, because it really comes down to the quality of the food. McCormick & Schmick’s merits a high rating on all three.
All of that wonderful bright wood and handcrafted stained glass chandeliers just adds to the “snugs”, private rooms, that are atypical of McCormick & Schmick’s. There are two rooms on the main level, one that has dining for 4 and the other for 6. The rest of the area has both booths and tables. Each snug is decorated with artwork and has a heavy curtain for both privacy and sound. A large portion of the former bar is now a seafood bar highlighting the oysters of the day.
Downstairs are tables near a gas fireplace and 4 more “snugs”. The former steakhouse cigar bar has been transformed into a banquet room. Outdoor dining is also available.
The menu varies every day with different lunch and dinner choices. Variations are due to the “Fresh List”, of which there were 34 items the evening that I had dinner. Entries include the seafood’s former home.
I have to confess that I did go overboard (no pun intended) on the meal, but that’s what kitty bags are for. The test was to invite my old college buddy and former attempted comedy partner, Susan Liben, who’s not a seafood lover.
I enjoy oysters on the half shell and ordered the Small Sampler: Washington, Hama Hama (small with mineral and lettuce finish); New Brunswick, Northumberland (small, plump and mild); Caribou Island, Tatamagouche (crisp with a lettuce finish); P.E.I. Canada, Malpeque (small, crispy and briny); Nova Scotia, Salt Aires (small, and crisp); P.E.I Canada, Caraquet (large, briny and juicy).
The next appetizer was the Deep Fried Calamari with a trio of dipping sauces. Even the calamari is placed on the “fresh list” with a point of origin from Point Judith, Rhode Island. My apologies to whoever brags about their calamari. Nothing can top this one, that you barely had to chew. I didn’t even bother to try the Bloody Mary sauce as the other two were sooooo delicious.
We then split a salad of arugula with raspberry vinaigrette, pine nuts and a very creamy , but not strong goat cheese. Another appetizer, lobster cocktail was split and served that way. It was a one pound boiled lobster (this one from Boothbay Harbor in Maine) “de-shelled” and then put back to avoid the cracking and bibbing, sitting atop lettuce with cocktail sauce.
Susan, the picky one, opted for an entrée of Yellowtail Sole from Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. The sole was crusted with parmesan cheese and served in a lemon and caper sauce. Real mashed potatoes and asparagus accompanied the delish dish. I selected the Jumbo Sea Scallops from Cape May, New Jersey. It was served with a Sweet Pea and mushroom Risotto and lobster sauce. Susan was smart and asked for the kitty bag. I left nothing on the plate.
Although desserts spelled backwards is “stressed”, neither of us were in that state of mind, due to the privacy, tantalizing meal and impeccable service. But alas, the dessert tray came over. Sue went for the chocolate soufflé and I the apple pie. I am not a pie eater, by no means, but the crunchy nut crust and cinnamon ice cream are what drove me to choose it over chocolate. When asked if I wanted coffee, I said, “No thank you. I’m on a diet”.
There are a few other pieces of data worth noting. You won’t find a freezer for fish and drinks are made with fresh squeezed juices. No prepared mixes and no blenders. I recommend the Lemon Drop.
I give McCormick & Schmick’s a Gold Plate, my highest rating.
An interview with Executive Chef Stephen Calise
September 02, 2004 - Queens Times
No article or part of an article can be published without the written consent of the owner. You can contact the owner at: email@example.com