Restaurant Review: McCormick & Schmick’s (Raleigh location)

Usually when Brad and I have a free night away from the kids we like to try out an area restaurant that is new to us. However, last Saturday instead of choosing a new place, we went to McCormick & Schmick’s because we had a $50.00 gift certificate that was about to expire. Don’t get me wrong, though – we have both been there numerous times for business lunches and dinners as well as a restaurant of choice. The atmosphere is great, the bar area is large if you have to wait for a table, it has outside seating, plus it is located less than two miles from our home, which makes it very convenient.

We started the evening with a glass of wine. Brad had a Don Miguel Gascon Malbec from Argentina. An 8 oz. pour is $11.50. He likes the hint of pepper and the black cherry flavors. I had a 2009 Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc – 8 oz. is $13.95. This is a nice, full wine from New Zealand that is rich, crisp and dry, with some citrus flavors as well as pepper. Nice.

We decided to split an appetizer and ordered a half Angry Tuna Roll (4 pieces for $6.95), which consisted of spicy Ahi tuna, a jalapeno slice, garlic and flamed tobiko. Tobiko is flying fish roe. Yum! This was crunchy and spicy. However, they were out of chopsticks. What’s up with that for a place that serves sushi and sashimi? Other appetizers I recommend are the coconut fried shrimp with Thai chili sauce, the calamari and the steamed mussels.

Immediately after taking our appetizer order, our server brought us some warm and crusty bread, served with room temperature butter (I just love butter that is easy to spread!) Tasty!

For dinner I ordered the Crab cakes with tartar sauce ($23.95). I asked for cocktail sauce instead. It came out with the tartar, but our server immediately noticed and brought the cocktail sauce. The crab cakes were large and moist, had a generous amount of crab with very little filler and were perfectly sautéed. Excellent! They came with orzo mixed with diced tomato, artichokes and peas.

Brad got the Hawaiian Seafood Trio, available for a limited time. It came with seared Ahi, grilled Shutome (swordfish) and macadamia crusted Mahi Mahi ($28.95). Here’s his review:

The tuna was presented as lightly seared, cut into four strips. It had a nice chili and sesame rub, and was served on top of a sweet but spicy chili sauce. Very nice! (I had a small bite and it was great!) The Mahi was macadamia-crusted, and served over rice with a mango salsa on top. It was pretty dry, but the salsa really made the dish. I could have used more of the salsa. As it was, I did not finish the entire piece due to the dryness. The swordfish was presented on top of baby Bok Choy, and topped with shitake mushrooms. This also seemed a little dry on the edge I started with, but improved as I moved to the center.  The mushrooms were excellent – very flavorful, but tended to overpower the flavor of the fish. When eating the fish alone, the areas which were caramelized by the grilling were exquisite. The Bok Choy worked well when eaten with the fish. Overall, my favorite was the tuna. The rub was great, and the sweet spice of the chili sauce was a great accompaniment.

For wine, Brad ordered a bottle of 2009 Willakenzie Estate Pinot Noir (Oregon) for $65.00. This pinot is rated 90, according to the menu. Here is Brad’s review (thank you, honey):

We don’t drink pinots as often as other red varietals, but with seafood it seemed like the best (red) choice. This wine had a nice nose of cherry and berries. It was light, but had a surprising length, as it lingered at the back of the tongue long after swallowing.  It was a good accompaniment to my meal, and seemed to work especially well with the mushrooms from my swordfish dish. I probably would have preferred a little heavier wine since that’s what I tend to drink more often, but this was a good choice for this meal. I agree – the wine paired nicely with the crab cakes.

We were both too full for dessert. The total bill came to $108.59 (after $50.00 gift certificate, including tax, excluding tip.)


  • Price:   4.0  – somewhat pricey
  • Service: 4.5
  • Food:   4.0
  • Recommend:   Yes, I will keep coming back for more!
  • Kid friendly:   I would take my 8 ½ yr. old twins there in a pinch, but would rather leave them at home.

1= hater, 2=poor, 3=adequate, 4=above average, 5=superb

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2 Responses to Restaurant Review: McCormick & Schmick’s (Raleigh location)

  1. Pingback: Close to Home: Chubby’s Tacos | Kel's Cafe of All Things Food

  2. Pingback: Tip of the Month, January 2012: Take Advantage of Triangle Restaurant Week | Kel's Cafe of All Things Food

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