Makeover for McCormick and Schmick’s

When the Harrah’s-sited seafood specialist McCormick & Schmick’s was purchased by Landry’s Restaurants, 
the first step was giving it a fresh new look.

By Frank Gabriel
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Feb. 14, 2013

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Harrah’s seafood specialist McCormick & Schmick’s — owned by Landry’s Inc., the parent company of neighboring Golden Nugget — has recently completed a major renovation of their dining area.


During a phone interview, Landry’s brand manager Matt Corbin tells Atlantic City Weekly that the remodel is a spillover of that casino acquisition.

“I believe the motive was that we took over the Golden Nugget [and] we didn’t want McCormick & Schmick’s to be immediately outdated,” he says, adding that the forward-thinking corporate mindset was to “get that location up to the new entire package.”

The results at the restaurant were subtle, but immediate. A glass partition near the center was removed, resulting in an open, flowing room. Carpeting, chairs and tables were also replaced. Green curtains surrounding many booths were replaced by those in a warm, shimmering shade of brown.

Although seating numbers weren’t altered, the effect is still one of creating additional space. The culinary emphasis remains seafood, which was the culinary direction taken during a recent dining review. 

As a starter, the buttermilk fried oysters brought four medium sized bivalves gently breaded, with the delicate batter providing just enough crunch and “oomph” to compliment their natural juices. Making the dish really shine was a kicky horseradish slaw, atop of which the oysters were angled. The blend appeared to be made from freshly grated root combined with traditional slaw, rather than a pre-prepared horseradish sauce as seasoning. Paired with those briny oysters, this unconventional garnish merrily danced, awakening our palate.

My partner’s choice, lump crab tower, brought a disc of clean, pure white meat, mounted atop consecutive layers of diced mango and avocado. Plating was vivid and colorful. Separate pools of pureed avocado and mango surrounded the crab, although a rather heavy-handed orange vinaigrette drizzled around them was one element we felt the dish might have benefited without.

Otherwise, the seafood was portioned generously, the crab blend itself nearly two inches tall, and that textural pairing of crustacean alongside pastel-shaded tropical fruits proved nicely executed, with chunks of the trio comparable in size and shape.

My entrée, herb crusted halibut, reiterated how simply prepared, highest-quality fish will always remain fashionable. In case you missed it, the operative phrase was “highest quality fish.” Halibut, the world’s largest flatfish, is often mishandled by overly ambitious chefs.

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