McCormick & Schmick’s brings New Zealand home

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants announced on Tuesday that it’s adding New Zealand seafood items to its menu as part of a promotion that runs from 6 January to 27 February.

The menu items include Greenshell Mussel Fritters served with a cilantro-roasted garlic pesto; New Zealand Shellfish Stew featuring greenshell mussels, clams, scallops and shrimp in a Riesling cream broth served in a sourdough bread bowl; King Salmon from Marlborough Sounds grilled and topped with a caramelized apple-Sauvignon blanc reduction; New Zealand Grass-Fed Filet Mignon served Wellington style; and Traditional Pavlova, a meringue made with Meyer lemon curd and kiwi puree.

In addition to the entrées, McCormick & Schmick’s is featuring two New Zealand wines, Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc and The Crossing Pinot Noir, and two cocktails, the Kiwi Meringue Pie and Kiwi Quencher, as part of the promotion.

The 87-restaurant upscale seafood chain is also offering its diners a chance to win a trip for two to New Zealand.

“We always strive to provide our guests with opportunities to explore and enjoy flavors from around the world, and our offerings from New Zealand are spectacular,” said Bill Freeman, the Portland, Ore., company’s CEO. “Following a year in which many of our guests may have cut back or cancelled travel, we are excited to bring a taste of New Zealand to them.”

Like with many upscale chains, sales and traffic are down at McCormick & Schmick’s due to the weak economy. In the third quarter, the company watched its same-restaurant sales drop 18.8 percent and its same-restaurant traffic fall 14.2 percent.

However, on Monday Piper Jaffray analyst Nicole Miller Regan raised her ratings on McCormick & Schmick’s, as well as Ruth’s Hospitality Group and Morton’s Restaurant Group, which pushed up shares of three high-end chains. In her report, Regan said business is improving at luxury hotels, likely because corporations are loosening the purse strings on business travel and expenses.

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