Saturday, June 30, 2012

A hair-raising seafood lunch

The Lobster Cobb Salad at McCormick & Schmick's in Hackensack.
The Ahi Niciose Salad includes fingerling potatoes.

I sat back in our booth on Thursday, proud of cleaning my plate and completely satisfied by a beautiful salad with seared ahi tuna at McCormick & Schmick's in Hackensack.

Then, my wife broke the silence, "There's a hair on your plate."

I looked down at the dark-colored, curved hair, and gulped. Had I eaten other hair?

When our server, Stephanie, came over to clear our lunch plates, I pointed out the hair. She returned shortly and said the manager would take care of the problem.

'Hair in food'

When she brought the check, I saw the words "Did Not Like" and "Name: HAIR IN FOOD" next to a deduction of $15.95 for the Ahi Nicoise Salad I had enjoyed so much.

But she had forgotten to apply a coupon I had for a free chef's appetizer of the day with the purchase of two lunch or dinner entrees, so she had to get us another check.

Bring lots of money

I had eaten at McCormick & Schmick's only once before in the 10 years it has been open, part of the "Restaurant Row" in the mall now called The Shops at Riverside.

I remembered the chain restaurant served premium seafood and that it was expensive, but not much else.

Looking over the lunch menu on Thursday, that impression was fortified by such prices as $32.95 for halibut with risotto and $27.95 for mahi-mahi served over succotash.

Only a handful of tables were occupied during our lunch in the 150-seat restaurant, which has an open kitchen. 

Farmed salmon only

We also got a summer lunch menu, but it didn't list wild salmon from Alaska -- this at the height of the season.

We started with Calamari Frito Misto ($12.95), the free appetizer, and got beautifully fried artichoke, carrot slices, banana pepper and jalapeno along with the squid and small cups of mild tomato sauce and tartar sauce.

Canadian Atlantic Salmon is a farmed fish.

Great seafood salads

My wife's Lobster Cobb Salad had plenty of delicious, tender lobster meat as well as sliced avocado and crumbled blue cheese and bacon ($19.95). She took about half of it home.

I loved the Ahi Nicoise Salad, especially the luscious, sushi-grade tuna that was served closed to raw, just how I like it.

But I certainly could have done without the hair. 

McCormick & Schmick's, 390 Hackensack Ave., in The Shops at Riverside, Hackensack; 201-968-9410.

Our free appetizer was beautifully fried and grease-free.

Dark wood and subdued lighting lend a clubby air to the place.

Part of the lunch menu at the chain restaurant.
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