Tuesday, June 07, 2011

McCormick & Schmick's makes seafood superbly(6-6-11)

About a decade ago I chaired a charity food event and had the pleasure of meeting the chef at the Dc downtown location of McCormick & Schmick's. Their PR person pushed me to come in to dinner, and in these very reviews I wrote about how heartily I was impressed, despite the "chain image."
Last night we headed to the Crystal City location (2101B Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA) and was impressed yet again. The three of us know Chef Marc Kennedy from our synagogue, and he truly LOVES to cook. He regaled us with a tale of how a week or so ago a patron wanted a "sashimi-style" fish dessert, and how he constructed it with caramelized bananas and spun sugar to boot! McCormick & Schmick's is indeed known for its fresh fish and last night it was the fish that starred, although Samuel opted for the kiddie meal burger & fries!
We started with a superb bottle of PARDUCCI "Sustainable White" 2008 which we discovered (through the internet) is a blend of 41.5% Chenin Blanc, 38% Sauvignon Blanc, 12% Viognier, 7.5% Muscat Canelli and 1% Fruliano. While this blending seems to hint at sweetness, the wine was bone dry and perfect with our tasty plump oysters:
Rappahannock River, Virginia
Blue Point, Oyster Bay, NY
Chef's Creek, Baynes Sound, British Columbia
& Malpeque (also BC)

Will chose the CITRUS BAY SCALLOP CEVICHE appetizer with Blue Corn Tortilla Chip which was a bit on the bland side despite the inclusion of calamari and small shrimp. My SALMON LOMI LOMI prepared tableside was divine with tomato, pineapple, onion, lime and soy mixed with superb quality salmon tartare.

A small tasting arrived from Chef Kennedy that was made of freshly delivered Copper River COHO SALMON SASHIMI and a small Seared Coho Salmon sushi wrapped in nori. There was drizzle of truffle oil on the sashimi and the sushi had a avocado, hoisan, spicy mustard dollop on the side making these two just divinely inspired.

We moved on to a bottle of CUVAISON 2009 Carneros Chardonnay which is usually huge and oaky, but it seems the Californians have moved in a different direction and garnered 92 points from Wine Spectator to boot.
It was an amazing pairing with my Sauteed SOF SHELL CRABS with hash Browns and Spinach in a superb butter sauce that was plain and perfect. Will and I switched main courses halfway and his WILD ALASKAN HALIBUT & SALMON was baked in PASTRY with Shrimp and a SunDried Tomato-Hazelnut Pesto that was just the right touch.

We were full, but that didn't stop Will from taking home a piece of Key Lime Pie!
It just goes to show you that a chain name can be broken!