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That's the last time we go to McCormick and Schmicks for Thanksgiving

It's the 3rd year we've been to the Bethesda McCormick and Schmicks for Thanksgiving. Next year we'll just have our family over at the house. We asked for our grilled tuna medium, not pink in the middle. It came out pink in the middle. My swordfish came out totally raw. The entire piece of fish was raw, bright pink, with only the outside white. My mother in law's pasta and shrimp dish was so spicy, she took one bite and that was it. I tried it thinking she's not a good judge of what's too spicy or not as she had a cold and was grouchy, but it was so spicy with way too much pepper that even I found it inedible and I LOVE spicy food. The waiter told her they would get her something else so she agreed to try the same shrimp with pasta in a simple marinara and he said it would be about 5-7 minutes. 15 minutes later after we had mostly finished our meals, hers finally came out, and it was fine for her.

We were told after grilling the guy about what the meal came with that it definitely came with rice. All 3 fish dishes came out with potatoes. He did eventually bring some rice on the side, saying the chef must have changed it up midstream today, so that was fine. We got both the great red potatoes and the rice.

We asked to speak with the mgr about our meal and she came over just as my swordfish was coming back from being recooked. I cut into it in her presence and it was black and red inside! I told her that something was wrong here and she admitted it was a bad cut of fish. She offered to replace it with another meal but we just said forget it and to take it away. After splitting my wife's tuna dish which we got back cooked in the middle, and it tasted good, we were both full.

For dessert we had the pumpkin cheesecake which was decent, the creme brulee (not that great), the wonderful bread pudding, and the blueberry cobbler. The waiter said when he brought the check that "I paid for your desserts and that one entree you had sent back". What a weird way of saying that the mgr simply comped the desserts and the one meal which we couldn't eat. "I paid for them"? That was strange.

We will not be going back to this place anytime soon! The turkey meals that others were getting did look great from a distance, but we don't eat turkey.

Oh well. Whatcha gonna do...

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We're going to Rasika for the 1st time on Saturday night so I might post a review after that. I went back to Zengo for the 2nd time the other night with different friends and still liked the food, but won't go back anytime soon. It was fun, but we like trying different restaurants. We liked the filet mignon dish best of the 3 we tried there at Zengo again. We also had the yummy black cod and the salmon. We'll also be going back to Oya for the 2nd time on Dec 2. Thanks to you guys, I'm learning about some cool dining options in DC. Still want to try Palena and Corduroy.

Steve R

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  1. Medium tuna but not pink the middle? I believe that'd be called well done.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Rick

      I should clarify then, we asked for it without any pink but only white in the middle.


      1. re: stever500

        So what you wanted was well done, with no pink in the middle, but you asked for "medium?" Isn't "only white in the middle" well done?

    2. I went there for Thanksgiving last year......

      The food was inedible...(I had stuffed shrimp in some sort of egg/cream sauce).......

      This year we had Thanksgiving dinner at home.......

      And I was thankful for not ever going to M&S again....

      For any type of meal.....

      1. Maypo: Thank you. Yes, that's what I'm talking about. Bad food at M&S.

        Monkeyerotic: Uh, I guess you got me there, if that was your intention.

        Steve R

        1 Reply
        1. re: stever500

          I'm not trying to "get" anybody. I'm just pointing out that a LOT of restaurant mistakes are the result of imprecise communication on the part of the customer, as well as servers not understanding what the customer means. Sometimes there's a language barrier, but more often they just don't want to seem like they're hassling the customer for a more precise definition of exactly what they want. I've made the mistake myself when I used to order medium steaks. Every cook's idea of "medium" is going to be just a little different. I prefer something closer to "medium rare" as opposed to "medium well" so that's what I order.

          And I stopped going to M&S years ago. Their happy hour deals are usually pretty good, but their sitdown service, particularly downtown, is pretty atrocious.

        2. I'm a little confused why some of you are being so beastly to this poster. If he had a bad meal at a great restaurant, you might possibly be justified in questioning his judgement. But he had a bad meal in an awful restaurant. I'm pretty sure the OP had a bad experience because M&S sucks and not because of the way he ordered. By my reading of the post, he was perfectly clear that he didn't want the tuna pink in the middle. Regardless of how you define "medium", they did not follow his specific instructions.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Lettuce Eat

            not being nasty, I really am sorry he had a bad meal. I was just hoping to give a little advice based on personal experience.
            I didn't want to sound beastly, and am sorry if it was perceived that way. Sometimes people can be too sensitive too. I think that the best thing about CH is that you can get perspective and advice from lots of people, and I often write in asking for other folks thoughts and advice.

            1. re: Lettuce Eat

              I don't think anyone here's been "beastly." We're just trying to get to the root of the problem. Yes, M&S does suck. That's a given. But the tuna order was hardly specific:

              "We asked for our grilled tuna medium, not pink in the middle."

              The latter part of the sentence contradicts the first. Sure, maybe that had NOTHING to do with the quality of the meal. Maybe they just screwed up like they usually do. But going out to dinner is a two-way street: it's our responsibility to say exactly what we want and it's the kitchen's responsiblity to deliver that.

              This whole situation reminds me of that episode of A Cook's Tour when a customer in Les Halles ordered something "hold the butter, but with extra bernaise," and Bourdain almost went ballistic. I can easily see the M&S cook looking at a "tuna, medium, not pink" order, flipping a coin, and coming out wrong.

              1. re: monkeyrotica

                I do appreciate your comments, even if they do make me look like an idiot here. Next time I order a grilled tuna though, I will definitely remember this post and order it correctly for us - which is WHITE in the middle, not pink, or medium or anything else - just white in the middle.

                Our main issue with this meal had nothing to do with the tuna, but the swordfish which was totally raw inside. Not pink, but bright red, like, not even cooked inside at all. Since when does a seafood restaurant serve raw swordfish? When we got it back 10 minutes later, it was still inedible. Our other complaint was that the shrimp and pasta dish was too spicy for any of the 4 of us at the table to eat. We all eat very spicy Thai and Indian, but this was wayyyy to spicy too eat. Something was simply wrong there.

                So, forget the pink tuna issue - that was sent back and it came back fine, and white in the center, just like we like it. Call us hicks, but we like it white. White is a nice color. It's clean and crisp :o).

                Anyway... over and out folks. Not sure why this is an irrelevant topic. What makes this topic irrelevant? Isn't this a site where we talk about restaurants - the good, the bad and the ugly? M&S was the ugly.

                Steve R

                1. re: stever500

                  It wouldn't suprise me if what you got wasn't even swordfish at all, but some sort of bottom-feeding chub fish. I recall some news expose on seafood restaurants selling cheap stuff like ray as higher end fish.

                  As for it being raw, my money's on a combination of it not being thawed properly (if at all) and an inattentive cook. How many dishes are these guys prepping at once? And on a busy night?

                  And BTW, I don't think you look like an idiot. Dining and ordering is like cooking: you have to make a few mistakes before you do it right. Judging by M&S, THEY need to do A LOT more learning.