I've been in Pittsburgh on assignment a lot lately and have been making the rounds of the South Side Works.
On February 13th I slipped into McCormick and Schmick's as Happy Hour was winding down and opted for the dining room. It was cold, miserable and sloppy outside, especially for my thin Florida blood.
I was seated immediately within sight of the greeters station and throughout my visit observed that everyone was greeted immediately and treated professionally. I also had a nice view of the street and realized that if it had been warmer outside there would have been a lot of activity (people watching is always fun). During my visit I had the opportunity to chat with the restaurant manager, Blaise, and came to learn that the entire staff has been very well trained.
My server was Patrick, who turned out to be the consummate professional. I learned that he had moved to Pittsburgh from Chicago and thoroughly enjoyed his outstanding professionalism throughout my visit. One of the great pleasures of traveling is the people you meet, and this experience was exactly what makes traveling so much fun.
I had heard that their Maine Lobster Bisque was very good and it sounded like a good way to restore some warmth into my now frozen bones so that got the evening started. I have to tell you that their Lobster Bisque is presented far differently than I expected. It comes in a large bowl with the lobster and some spices and seasoning in the center, and then the server pours the warm bisque from a pitcher into the bowl. The presentation was excellent. How did it taste? Wow! Try it, I recommend it highly.
Now that I was appropriately thawed out it was time for some wine and a little dinner.
I opted for the Kendall Jackson Pinot Noir Vintner's Reserve with their Walnut Mixed Greens Salad and the Cedar Planked Salmon which was served with roasted fingerling potatoes, yellow squash and green peppers.
I know that's not a terribly adventurous order but it is a simple straightforward standard that they should do very well consistently.
On balance the food was exactly as it should be. The only criticism, and it's minor, is that the Salmon was a little bit too thin; and the result after being "planked", is that it was a little bit dry for my taste. That can be corrected by increasing the thickness of the filet. It's a delicate balance but for $25.99 McCormick and Schmick's can afford to make that adjustment.
I really enjoyed this visit to McCormick & Schmick's at the South Side Works and suggest that if you are in town to give it a try. The service was outstanding, the food was very good and the location is excellent.
I'll be back with friends and family when the snow is finally gone.