Bay Area Reviews
We were in Bellevue, Washington (April 2007) and Mike wanted to eat some seafood - figuring that seafood in this part of the world is likely to be fresher than what we get down south. I was game for it - figuring that no matter where we went I could get some fish and chips - but I didn't want to spend too much money. That left Sea Star, a restaurant I've been recommended, with its prices mostly in the low 20's, out. I couldn't find other moderately priced alternatives, so I decided to go to McCormick & Schmicks, even though I'm not too keen on going to chains. We had a generally good experience.
McCormick & Schmicks is located right in downtown Bellevue, in an area full of restaurants and stores that is definitely happening even on a Thursday night. The restaurant was pretty packed when we got there, but we had no problems getting a table, albeit not in the best location of the house. They also have tables in enclosed and semi-enclosed private booths that give you a much better sense of privacy. The place itself has a lot of wood and old pictures on the wall - it may be trying to look like an old gentleman's club. We sat by an old map of the area, which of course, distracted Mike during dinner.
McCormick's menu changes daily depending on what is fresh that day - they do have fish from all over the country and the world, however, so I wonder what exactly they mean by "fresh", but that's another matter. Mike decided that he wanted to stick with something from the Pacific Northwest and, on the waitress' recommendation, decided on ling cod in a Thai green curry sauce ($20). He also ordered an appetizer of coconut shrimp. I, of course, went for the cod fish & chips ($16). I stuck with water and he had a diet coke ($2.50).
Mike thought that the coconut shrimp ($9 for five medium shrimp) was good (how can you go wrong with coconut shrimp?) but it lacked something he couldn't define. He's had better.
He was much more enthused with his cod. He found the fish to be fresh and tasty, and the curry sauce to be balanced and a bit spicy (which was fine for him). His only complaint was that the portion was very small. I liked the coconut rice that came with it.
The fish and chips were also good but unwieldy. The breading fell immediately off the fish, making it difficult to eat together. The fish itself was fresh but clearly in need of some seasoning (some salt, lemon and tartar sauce helped). The three pieces were pretty generous and I was satisfied. The french fries were fine; there was nothing special about them.
Desserts come on a tray from which you choose. I decided to skip the chocolate cake, the cheesecake and the apple crumble - and even the trio of creme brule, bread pudding and something else - and went for the hot fudge sundae ($6). I have to say that the sundae looked *much* larger than it actually was. The two small pieces of truffle cake with which it came were excellent, but the rest of the sundae was disappointing. The vanilla ice cream was fine, but it didn't have very much fudge so all we ended up eating was ice cream - and not very much of it. I'd definitely not order it again.
In all, we had a nice meal, even though this was a chain, and I'd probably go back there if we were hankering for mid-price seafood.
McCormick & Schmicks Seafood Restaurant
700 Bellevue Way NE