Food Critic Segment/Restaurant Reviews

Portland, OR “McCormick and Schmick’s”, Harborside at the Marina


This was our OUTSTANDING Waitress. Her name is Laura.  She has been with the company for quite some time. I am going to go “over the top” a little here in saying that she was absolutely, positively, outstanding and had the most beautiful demeanor.  She was excellent from the minute she approached the table. She was professional, personable, helpful and she made you feel like she “wanted” you there, like you were “valued” and “important”.  

So, for those of you who have been following my reviews, the ones that I post here (on my blog) and on Trip Advisor, you have probably noticed that I give glowing reviews 99% of the time, so for me to draw attention to or complain about the food or presentation in any way is a bit unusual.  

I have had a few really bad experiences recently and I have chosen not to waste my time posting at all. I really want to highlight what the good people are doing out there rather than focus on the negative. So for this one, because I wanted to highlight Laura, and because we had such a smashing, good time with Bo and Gayle, I will lay out the “good things” as well as the “not so good things”. But as far as service it was a 11+. 

The night we were there all bottles of Wine were half off so we considered that to be our lucky day! It allows you to order a little more expensive Wines that you might not order otherwise and also try new Wines you haven’t had before.




Look at the beautiful setting this restaurant is in.  It has a captivating view of the Willamette River, right on the Marina, boats and dock slips everywhere and right in the heart of downtown, Portland.  The Bar is beautiful as well as the Restaurant which has tall, tall ceilings and the main dining has 2 levels. We sat upstairs on the upper level. The picture above shows the view from our table. The decor was really beautiful, elegant, yet comfortable and inviting.


We shared 2 Appetizers. This was the Crispy Buttermilk Fried Sea Scallops with Horseradish Slaw and Lemon Tabasco Aioli. We thought these were good.  Wish there had been a few more.  The Sauce complimented it well but I thought the presentation was a bit sloppy.


This is the Seared Ahi Tuna with Pickled Lipstick Peppers (considered to be the ultimate Sweet Pepper) served with Yuzu, (a Japanese Citrus Fruit) Dressing. I’m not used to seeing such a dark colored Ahi, the ones we usually see are bright Red or Orange-Red, this was super dark.  It tasted fine but I didn’t care for the presentation or what it was served with.  I guess I ‘m stuck on the traditional Fresh Ginger, Wasabi and Soy Sauce.


For me, this was the best thing of the night.  We shared the Lobster Cobb Tower with Tarragon Ranch, Bleu Cheese Crumbles and Bacon.  It also had Fresh Avocado and Tomato.  I really liked this Salad.  As you can see it was packed with Ingredients and everything was Fresh and just really good.  If I went again I would order this for my Main Entree.


I ordered the Beef Medallions Bordelaise with Roasted Mushrooms and Spinach. I was excited because it was all of my favorite things all on one plate. I ordered it Medium and it came out Raw. (some you like it that way  but not me)…I sent it back and it still wasn’t cooked right, (plus it took a long time to get it back) so Laura asked what else I would like to have, (she was SO accommodating throughout the whole meal). At that point everyone was done eating. She didn’t want me to leave having a bad experience or go home hungry so she highly recommended I try the Clam Chowder, something she could get right away. She also said it was one of the items on their menu that was consistent and always good, so she brought me a bowl of that.


I loved the Clam Chowder! It was thick, rich, you could really see and taste the Clams and I would definitely order this again. 


Gayle loved the The Crab Legs which is one of her favorite things (mine too) but for me and you can see by looking at the picture, they only gave you 2 cut in half, I suppose that’s standard but the meat inside was sparse, not the best Crab I have seen, say, compared to Manny’s Steak House in Mpls where the meat is so thick and huge and you can barely finish it.  I’d give the Potatoes and the presentation a 6. In a Steak House I think the Drawn Butter should be served in a ramekin with a candle underneath to stay hot.  The whole plate was just not very inventive.


I do not like the presentation of this dish.  It looks sloppy, the Sauce is runny and you can’t even tell what it is, but Bo said it tasted great, had nice flavors and it was cooked to his liking. It was the Crab & Shrimp Stuffed Salmon with Brie, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans. I must say the combination sounds delicious.


This is the Summer Pan Seared Halibut. John got it with the Mashed Potatoes and the Green Beans.  It was served with a Saffron Butter.  He said the Halibut was cooked perfectly. Boring presentation but overall Fish was very good.

Laura brought us complimentary Dessert and we loved her suggestions. We shared the Deep Dish Key Lime Pie which was creamy and light and the Upside Down Candied Walnut Pie, baked twice with a Candied Walnut Crust, warm Caramel Sauce and served with Cinnamon Ice Cream. *I think this was the table favorite.

*Please Note; For me, as the person writing this review, I would say that the overall experience was a 10 because we were with great friends and had fabulous service but the food was lacking and bland and the presentation was sloppy. There was minimal creativity and I couldn’t feel the passion or love in the food. (I can actually feel things, like at “Mariposa” in Sedona where it is so over the top it leaves you breathless). I actually had a hard time writing this review.  Normally the words flow out of me and I  actually get excited to write them but not with this one, I just couldn’t pull the words.  It was disappointing to me knowing how good it could have been. It was an off day, (even Laura said that to us) and perhaps they didn’t have their “A” team in the kitchen but I guess those slower days give everyone a chance to grow and learn.  Oh well, maybe next time it would be better.  I do not want to lump this location or this particular experience into all the other locations because I know McCormick and Schmick’s has an excellent reputation and has been around for a long time.

Happy Eating!

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McCormick and Schmick’s, Harborside at the Marina  0309 SW Montgomery, Portland, OR 97201










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