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What to order at Legal Sea Food or McCormick & Schmicks

  • d

Arriving in Boston from TX on a Sat. evening about 5:30, will check into Park Plaza hotel, and we will be starving, exhausted, wanting fish (we'll save the lobster for the Maine portion of our trip). I figure Legal Sea Food or McCormick & Schmick, both right by the hotel. Not trying to impress, just want quality & freshness (Lubbock, TX doesn't get much fresh fish), close by.

So which is best? What on their menu is really good? We'll make reservations if necessary (7ish).

Also, can anyone tell me the hours and days of McCormick & Schmick's $1.95 happy hour menu? Their website has a menu but not times.

Note: originally posted in Boston forum, moderator suggested I repost here since these are both chains (though the Legal mentioned here is the company's flagship).

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  1. McCormick & Schmicks:
    my fave is the upside-down apple pie
    (I believe even the desserts may vary by season and location, though)

    1. Hubby always loves the bluefish pate at Legal.

      1. I like Legal Seafood.
        My favorite from their menu is the Artic Char. I have never been disappointed there although it does get crowded and noisy at times. Coming from Texas you should enjoy Legal's. Everything is fresh.

        1. Usually happy hour runs 4-6 PM and 10-midnight but not on Fridays or Saturdays. If you're still around, Tuesdays are $1 oyster nights. Also supposed to be a two drink minimum but I've gone and only had one beer before. Not everything is $1.95 any more, some things are $2.95 and $3.95. I've only been there for the happy hour menu so can't say much about the fish. Options on happy hour menu are very limited for seafood (usually 2 clams or oysters for $1.95, maybe fish cakes for somewhere around that price but they're bland).

          1. Best thing at McCormick's are the oysters. Usually around 10-12 varieties in my experience. just get a mix of them.

            1. I would avoid McCormick & Schmick - the one here in Chicago is lousy. However, I've had such good meals at the Legal Seafood in Boston that I was wishing they'd come to Chicago! I love their bluefish pate.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Akatonbo

                I would agree to avoid M&S.

                I went with a friend for lunch about two months ago. It was a nice day and they are located about 2 blocks from my office.

                The food was ok, since we got the "professionals lunch special" 3 courses for 15.99 it was a deal. They never brought out the apps. Took 30 minutes for entrees. They did give us a $10 coupon off on a future visit.

                Last week we were telling another friend that " yes we went to lunch, yada yada and it was at M&S" a totally independent friend said "I hope you got better service than I did".

                So it seems that no ones gets decent service (at least at the Bethesda, MD location.

                1. re: Akatonbo

                  I have purchased bluefish pate at Whole Foods in Chicago. I have not been up for awhile but maybe they still carry it. It might be worth a look. It was pretty tasty stuff.

                2. I'm pretty sure the M&S happy hour is 3:30-6:30 weekdays and after 10PM. Don't think it's on the weekend but you can check when you get there. They have great fried oysters (I'm sure the raw ones are decent too but not my preferred style). Can't remember what entrees I've had but I've always been happy. Make reservations for a Sat. nite to be safe.

                  1. Unless you are going to the M&S happy hour for the bargain I recommend Legal over M&S. Legal is, after all, a Boston institution and the M&S chain started in Oregon. I like the room/atmosphere at Legal better too. The M&S in Park Square is a dark enclosed space. I prefer Legal's food and food choices as well. All the out of towners I know that have been there have thoroughly enjoyed.

                    1. Oysters at McCormick & Schmick. If it's a nice night and you're not too exhausted, the Faneuil Hall location has outdoor seating - much more pleasant (if you don't have much luggage, you could have the cab drop you there on the way to the hotel, then catch another one afterwards).

                      Legal- whether and what is good (incuding service) varies by location. Have never eaten at the Park Plaza one. Excellent at one or another of their locations: tuna burger (on lunch menu, but if they have any by dinner time, they'll serve it to you), grilled tuna (H loves it blackened or cajun-whichever they do); arctic char; bluefish; butterfish in a miso sauce or marinade (on appetizer menu, but can order it as an entree); raw bar. I ( probably a minority of one) suggest avoiding their regular clam chowder - way too thick and gloppy. Their light chowder (no cream, no tomatoes - clams and potatoes) on the other hand, is excellent. Don't think it's on the menu anymore, but they usually have it - just ask.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: JRL

                        Legals thickened their chowder to conform to tourist expectations. Sigh. Ugh.

                      2. legal absolutely. Sole sauteed in caper butter. Rhode Island style Fried calamari(with hot peppers). Shrimp wontons. Oysters on the half shell. mixed greens with tomato vinaiegrette and crumbled blue cheese. Profiteroles for dessert.

                        1. OK, that's 3 votes for Bluefish Pate, 2 for Artic Char. Sounds like my appetizer and entree. Someone mentioned profiteroles - I looked at their menu description, sound yummy. I'll let the Mrs. decide on her own food.

                          Legal it is. Thanks all.

                          1. Get the shrimp cocktail at Legal, biggest/freshest I ever had.

                            Also had some Asian dish that came in a Chinese take-out container that was then dumped onto the plate (and still kept its shape). Fun and tasty.

                            1. I only went to Legal Seafoods once...loved it. I had this great dish with broccoli, shrimp and melted jack cheese...it was AWESOME.....and a dish of Clam Choawdah. Awesome.

                              I hate McCormicks and Schmicks...dunno...just never wowed me, and that includes the Jake's chains in Portland too.....