McCormick and Schmick’s Revisited

One of my first posts in 2015 was about McCormick and Schmick’s in Troy. I wasn’t too enamored with the place, and for the price did not feel like I had a worthy experience. You can read the previous review HERE. I recently have been going to McCormick and Schmick’s for a recurring business development group meeting. Although I am abstaining from eating during the meetings, the food ordered by others looked really good and the happy hour prices can’t be beat. The great appeal is that the happy hour menu is available all week – even on the weekends from 4-6:30. Saturday night we found ourselves looking for somewhere different to go, so we headed up to M&S. The happy hour menu is available anywhere in the bar area, and it is first come first serve. There are high top tables, low table or cozy booths for your dining pleasure. Happy hour is pretty busy. On a Saturday at like 5 p.m., the place was already jumping. We were lucky to grab a couple seats at the bar.

There were two bartenders that night, Ariana and Andrew. Although both took good care of us, Ariana had the better personality of the two. Andrew was a bit stoic for a bartender, and too serious for my taste. A very “get down to business” sort of guy. Now the happy hour menu is not super extensive as most happy hour menus are, but they had a large offering of drinks, which is unusual for happy hour.

I started the evening (and ended it too) with my new favorite drink. Tito’s and soda, with a splash of cranberry and a slice of lime. Omar stuck with his traditional Tanqueray martini, up, with three anchovy stuffed (gag) olives.

The food ranges from $3 snacks, like hummus or bruschetta, to $9 “bites” like shrimp cocktail. They have weekly specials like Tuesday’s Titos and Tacos (yumm!) Wednesday has $1 shrimp & suck with $1 oysters and shrimp and Thursday’s boast Oyster Rockefeller day just $2.50 each.

I think the best deals on the menu are the $5 fish tacos, or the $5 burger and fries. We ordered what seemed like a gluttonous amount of food. I ordered shrimp cocktail with the fish tacos, grilled, not fried. The “jumbo” shrimp cocktail was far from jumbo, more like “average” shrimp cocktail, but shrimp was fresh, and cocktail sauce full of horseradishy goodness. The fish tacos however, were spectacular. Fresh grilled fish (of unknown origin, most likely a whitefish or flounder) with a spicy jicama slaw, roasted corn salsa and a cilantro ranch sauce. The combination of flavors just explodes in your mouth.

Omar ordered the Spice Seared Ahi Tuna and a plate full of oysters. I am not a fan of raw, or even slightly seared fish, nor am I a fan of oysters. The Ahi Tuna had great flavors, with picked lip stick peppers adorning the plate and a yuzu aioli. (Yuzu is a Korean type of citrus fruit) but I simply just can’t get over the texture. Omar said the oysters were amazing. So much so, he ordered extra oysters and more Tuna! What began as a cheap happy hour jaunt turned into quite an expensive date, with the multiple drinks and food.

We did not order the burger and fries but sure wanted to. The burger was massive, looked juicy and the fries looked like my perfect fry. Not batter fried, skin on, and cooked perfectly. You can even order with drizzled truffle oil and Parmesan. I know the burgers looked good because everyone around us ordered one.

Long story short. the bar is a totally different atmosphere than the main restaurant. Relaxed, laid back, great prices, great food. Throw in some fun bartenders like our buddy Colin who is now at Eddie Vs and you have the makings of a perfect hangout. I know I suggested in 2015 that you stay away from this place, but I have changed my mind – just sit in the bar from 4:00-6:30!

Felt Like a Whale After the Whale’s Rib

Took a trip to Florida recently for a business trip and Omar and I decided to extend our visit a bit and spend some time with my sister and her family. My sister has a great house in Coconut Creek, and treated us like royalty, even giving up her spa like bedroom. So gracious! The first night, after a long day of traveling and fighting rush hour we decided to head into Deerfield Beach and eat near the pier.  We chose the Whale’s Rib Raw Bar – a quaint hole in the wall – even featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. As Guy likes to joke – No, you don’t actually get to eat Whale here, but they do have some of the freshest and best selection of seafood in the area.

The restaurant has been around for 30 years and is a South Florida staple for seafood. It is a simple, paper on the table, plastic basket kind of joint, that has expanded to include a great outdoor patio area with beer and wine to help us get through the wait.

We were told about a 30 minute wait and surprisingly, for a Friday night we were seated and water coming within 15 minutes.

We didn’t know what to order, so in a hungry glutinous fashion, we all start ordering food to “share”.  We started with Whale Fries with “Whale Juice” which is essentially home made hand cut chips with a sauce that essentially consisted of honey mustard and vinegar.

We then opted for a variety of seafood including peel and eat shrimp, Stone Crabs which happened to be in season, oysters, conch fritters and I ordered a side salad.  Wow, the food was amazing, so fresh, tasty and plentiful! Just skip the salad next time. It was boring as a plate of bagged greens with some pungent onions and mediocre ranch dressing.

It seemed like they just brought basket after basket of food and hot chips.  We all truly felt like whales upon leaving the place. If you find yourself in the Deerfield Beach area, make sure you stop at the Whales Rib.  Well worth the drive and the wait!!

Our incredibly stuffed bellies didn’t stop us from meandering to the local ice cream shoppe called Sprinkles & Scoops.  I do believe I had the most delicious decadent ice cream cone while I was there. They had a ton of candy and treats along with a huge selection of ice cream flavors.  Make sure you complete your Whales Rib experience with a short walk down the block to Sprinkles. It is well worth it.

We uber’d back to their house and crashed early as we know the following day held a wealth of decadent culinary sensations and we needed our rest!

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