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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

McCormick & Schmick's - Santa Ana

2791 N Main St.
Santa Ana, California 92705
(714) 558-1963

I feel it is only fair that I start this article with a disclaimer stating that I hate McCormick & Schmick's. I don't hate them because of other bad things I have heard about them. I don't even hate them because of the whole "Condom in the soup" incident in Irvine a few years ago. I simply hate them because of my own experiences at this restaurant. I have never had good food, or particularly good service at this restaurant. So this is going to be a bad review. It is very possible that I just hated McCormick and Schmick's this visit because I went there with my mind already set on hating it. It could also simply be because they suck. If you don't want to read a bad review of McCormick and Schmick's because you are a big fan of them, maybe you should skip this article and wait for my next one.

By now you're probably wondering, "If Griffin hates this place so much, why did he go eat there?" Well that's a good question, and here is my answer. My wife and I were invited out to dinner by J a little while ago, to dine at McCormick and Schmick's. My gut reaction was to immediately and politely decline the invitation. J then proceeded to tell me that she made the reservation on OpenTable through their "ShareOurStrength" charity promo. She told me that McCormick & Schmick's was one of a few local restaurants that promised to donate a portion of the proceeds to ShareOurStrength if we made our reservation through OpenTable. I decided that since it was for a good cause, I would try them once more.

Our party of 5 arrived at the new Santa Ana location at our reservation time. After a couple of minutes we were seated at a nice table. We looked over the menu and started deciding what to order. The waitress came over to introduce herself and take our drink orders. After we placed our drink order, we told her that we were there because of the ShareOurStrength charity promotion. The waitress seemed confused and wasn't quite sure what we were talking about. She said she would go ask the manager. She returned a short while later and said that if we wanted any money to be donated to charity, we had to order one of their four nightly specials. I asked her if she was certain, because the advertisement had said that they were donating a portion of our entire dinner proceeds for making the reservation through OpenTable. She went to go double check with the manager. A few minutes later she came back. This time she told us that she was wrong the first time. In fact, money was not donated for the nightly specials. She pointed at a stand-up card on the table and said that we had to order one of the two items on it if we wanted them to donate anything to charity. I looked at the card and saw two overpriced $30 entrees that didn't interest me at all. At this moment, I was annoyed to say the least. I didn't care for either entree that they were donating money for, so I looked for something on the menu that was cheap. I didn't want to have to give this place any more money than I had to. J decided to order the Wild Mixed Grill Seafood Trio special ($29.99) just so that some of our money would go to charity. Her special included a Creme Brulee' for dessert.

After looking over the menu, I finally decided to get a cheeseburger($8.95), medium rare. I asked for cheddar cheese, bacon and bleu cheese on the burger. The waitress said she had no idea if they had bacon or cheddar cheese. She said she'd have to ask the cook. V decided to get a pasta dish with Mahi Mahi ($14.95), S went for a stuffed salmon dish ($24.95) and R decided to get fish and chips ($16.95).

My cheeseburger arrived with the cheddar, bleu and bacon ($1.95 extra) that I had asked for. The waitress asked if I wanted anything else for my burger. I asked for some mustard. About ten minutes later, she dropped a jar of mustard off at the table. I tried to open the jar but it seemed to be glued shut. I tried and tried and tried and finally the lid came off. Crusty, gross, black stuff fell off the rim of the previously sloppily closed jar on to the table. The brown goop inside the jar barely resembled mustard. I decided to pass on the mustard. I always wonder how health codes can allow restaurants to have jars of condiments that everyone sticks their dirty utensils into, be then delivered to other tables. It sounds like a bacteria breeding nightmare. Especially when it looks like this jar of mustard had probably originally been opened months and months ago. The cheeseburger wasn't cooked medium rare as I requested. It was more medium-well and the outside of the patty had been charred to a crisp. It tasted like I was eating a piece of charcoal.

V didn't like her pasta very much. Her pasta came swimming in sauce with small chunks of mahi mahi mashed up into it. She said it was overly fishy tasting and had way too much sauce. She ate a few bites of it, but quickly got sick of it and couldn't bring herself to eat any more. I think this dish is made with old, leftover pieces of mahi mahi that were trimmed off (or fell off) the filets for the more expensive dishes. Her meal looked like a big mushy mess.

The salmon that S ordered was stuffed with a mixture of crab, shrimp and brie cheese. She said that it was pretty good and didn't seem to have any complaints about it. S felt that the mashed potatoes were really bland. She thought that since the fish was so rich, maybe it was a good thing that the potatoes were so bland.

R ate his fish and chips and said they were nothing special. They were just your basic fish and chips. I definitely don't think they were worth the $16.95 we paid for them. If you look at the picture, you'll see that he didn't even get that much fish.

J liked her Wild Mixed Grill ok. It came with three very small pieces of fish covered with different sauces. She felt that the sauces were overly sweet, but could see how some people might like them.

At the end of the meal we decided to order an additional dessert so we could enjoy dessert with J. I was really hoping that the dessert would be better than the food. We ordered a cheesecake ($6.95) to go along with J's Creme Brulee'.

The creme brulee' was really firm and had a strong scrambled egg flavor. I've had much better creme brulee'. The cheesecake was nothing special either. It tasted just like the cheesecake you can get at Jack in The Box. Maybe they have the same supplier.

After this most recent visit to McCormick & Schmick's, my opinion of them has not changed. I'm not sure how they continue to be successful and are able to keep opening new locations. If you're looking to go out and get seafood, I would recommend going to King's Fish House or even Red Lobster instead. Just do yourself a favor, don't go to McCormick and Schmick's.

McCormick & Schmick's on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Thanks for telling it like it is. Your experience at M&S mirrors mine.

For some reason, I think your negative reviews are way more entertaining than your positive ones.

inland empire restaurant and food reviews said...

The fish and chips look like Frozen fish you get at the market.

ChristianZ said...

I've only been to McCormick & Schmick's once and I don't remember much about the food but I don't remember it being bad. I went because somebody gave me a gift card that they didn't think they would be able to use before the expiration date. It even sat around a while on my own desk. Finally, shortly before it was about to expire, I went to the Irvine one with a brother who was visiting. The Irvine location is especially high end and there's a lot of old money, businessman types in there who I just don't fit in with. On top of that my brother and I were looking rather on the ratty, unkempt side. To make a long story short we didn't fit in at all with the regulars who were there but our waiter treated us exactly the same as if we did, basically very well, like he was completely blind to our disheveled appearance or like he had goggles on that made every customer look like a ritzy millionaire deserving of the VIP treatment. This was my one experience with M&S. It could be that it was an isolated incident.

DanGarion said...

I've only been to M&S once as well. The Santa Ana one, our experience was actually pretty good. I can't remember what was ordered but the food was above average. Our waiter was really good.

I do remember that we ordered the chocolate box (or bag) that was filled with some type of tart mango, that was really good.

Sorry to hear you've had such bad experiences. Sounds like the waitress was new or really doesn't care about her job.

Anonymous said...

I feel your integrity as a resturant critic, real or pretend, comes in to question when you start your review off with "So this is going to be a bad review."

We all have bad experieinces at even our favorite tried and tested resturants..........that's the restauant biz!

If you are going to go in with the mindset that this is going to end bad no matter how well it starts.....why post it?

Anonymous said...

I have not eating at McCormick & Schmick's for at least 15 years. Worst food I ever had was at their restrauant! I see it hasn't changed.

imjustatree said...

hmmm i've been meaning to try this location out since it's the closest one to me. They have a great happy hour don't they? 1.99 food items. while i've only been to a ms once, in dc, i thought the food was good for the price...oyster shooters weren't that fresh, but what do u expect for 1.99?

sorry to hear your experience was so bad.