It's the best of both worlds. You can dine on Trout from Australia or Yellowfin Tuna from Hawaii while the young 'uns can get the food they're accustomed to at a very reasonable price.
The Gang started off with tender, not-too-greasy Fried Calamari ($11.95) - tell a 4-year-old it's chicken and they'll eat anything - and a crunchy Coconut Shrimp with a tangy horseradish marmalade for dipping ($8.95). That also went over well - it's fried, it's sweet, what's not to like?
For main courses, the adults went with a delicious Grilled Rainbow Trout ($18.95), lightly flavored with a lemon maple glaze, Grilled Atlantic Salmon ($21.95), with a lemon chive butter and Black Pepper Crusted Sturgeon in a brandy cream sauce ($24.95). For a Gangster who had only ever seen sturgeon on a smoked fish tray next to lox and sable, this meaty, white fish was a rare treat.
As you would expect at M&S, all the fish was moist and flavorful and not smothered in overpowering goo.
The children feasted on a cheeseburger big enough for an adult ($4.95), Chicken Popcorn that looked more like chicken fingers ($4.95) and a nice portion of Fish & Chips ($4.95) with the filets having a perfect crunch. We were split on the accompanying thin-cut French Fries. Some loved them, others thought they were a little soft. And the Caesar Salad ($6.95) didn't have its customary crackle.
Since McCormick & Schmick's fish doesn't fill you up with gloppy sauces, we actually had a little room left for dessert. Upon our waiter's recommendation and that of two children whose eyes lit up at the word "Oreo," we had the Oreo Cheesecake ($6.95) and the Upside Down Apple Pie ($7.95), a house favorite, which comes with walnut-y crust and cinnamon ice cream. Both were fine cappers to a fine meal.
The chain truthChain:
McCormick & Schmick's, 1 South Broad St. (next to City Hall). Phone: 215-568-6888. Other locations in approximately 40 other cities around the country.
Parking: Valet, $16. Garages and lots nearby. Street parking possible but unklikely.
Price: We didn't drink, but dinner for three adults and three children with two appetizers, a salad, three main dishes, three children's dishes, two desserts and a Sprite, came to $135.04 plus tip.
Portions: Reasonable, and you won't hate yourself.
Overall grade: Three-and-a-half out of a possible four links. McCormick & Schmick's may not have the hip factor of some of the city's newer, trendier, chi-chi eateries, but it's as dependable as they come and will be here long after the other spots have gone. *