Our last night in Denver this year, the guys from Focal loudspeakers took the North America sales staff out to dinner to McCormick and Schmick's in the Denver Tech Center area on the southeast side of the city. (see map)
McCormick and Schmick's is an upscale seafood restaurant with over 50 locations across the United States. For a chain, it's very good. Each location has a ever changing menu depending upon the availability and the freshness of the seafood that's flown into their restaurants each day. Depending upon the restaurant, McCormick and Schmick's have been known to offer two different menus a day.
The first McCormick and Schmick's began in Portland, OR in 1979 under the leadership of Bill McCormick and Doug Schmick (right). In the early 70's, McCormick bought and revived an 80-year-old restaurant in Portland - Jake's Famous Crawfish. On his management team was Schmick, a young trainee that McCormick took a liking to. They quickly formed a partnership and the rest is history.
Now, I've eaten at McCormick and Schmick's before - once in Las Vegas, and once in Indianapolis. Both meals were absolutely exceptional. So when it was announced that we were going to dinner at McCormick and Schmick's, Focal's Dominic Baker asked me if I approved. Considering that I had given him a "thumbs down" before we went to Landry's in Las Vegas earlier this year, he wanted my input on McCormick and Schmick's. He was happy when I gave him a resounding "two thumbs up."
And we weren't disappointed.
We had a reservation for 14 at 7:30 and we had a little bit of a wait in the bar after we arrived. The decor in McCormick and Schmick's is similar to the other two I've been in. It can be classified as "old time elegant". Lots of dark wood paneling, linen table cloths and very subdued lighting.
It wasn't long before they showed us to a large table near the back of the restaurant. Taking care of a party of 14 is tough, but our waiter was great. He was funny, self-deprecating, on top of things and did a super job of keeping us all happy.
We started out with a various number of seafood appetizers including calamari, shrimp, oysters on the half shell, and a few other tasty items. Coupled with a number of cold beers, it was enough to take the edge off of our growling tummies.
The menu consisted of a large list of fresh fish and seafood, along with steaks and grilled chicken. One of the interesting things that caught my eye was the Atlantic Salmon from Washington state. Now, I thought McCormick's and Schmick's menu editor was geographically challenged. But it turned out that McCormick and Schmick's has their own Atlantic Salmon farm near Puget Sound.
Still, I almost went with the tuna - a yellowfin tuna seared to a medium-rare. But then I saw the scallops - large Atlantic scallops with prosciutto, mushrooms and Asiago cheese. Oh, man. I had to go with that.
And I wasn't disappointed in the least. The scallops were firm and meaty, the prosciutto, mushrooms and cheese were a wonderful combination with the scallops. Dominic Baker had the New York strip steak and he declared it was excellent. One of the guys next to me got the tuna and he said it was fantastic.
My colleague, Todd, was about the only one disappointed because he got the Prince Edward Island clams (P.E.I. is where he grew up) and instead of steaming them, they boiled them. Todd said, "Who in the hell boils clams? I would have expected better from a place like this."
Boiled clams aside, the overall consensus among our group was that the meal was top-rate. And that's the same thing I've thought at each of the McCormick and Schmick's I've eaten at. The prices are a little expensive, but it is an upscale restaurant. The service and the food was way above average. I'd go back to a McCormick and Schmick's at a moment notice.