[For photos in-line within the text, and the ability to see higher-resolution sizes, please visit http://theoffalo.com/2013/06/manhatta...]
Chef David LeFevre's Manhattan Beach Post has been on my radar for the past year or so, and last month I finally got to go for dinner with my family after a long day at Disneyland (it's kinda on the way back to the Westside from Anaheim), after failing to get in at its newly opened sister restaurant Fishing with Dynamite.
After enduring hours of heat and long lines and impatient kids--at Disneyland, not at MB Post, fortunately--we were lucky to get seated nearly right away, even without a reservation. We ordered a variety of dishes, including the signature bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits, as well as the entire dessert menu, so without further ado...
(Dish # correspond to photos at bottom of post.)
#1. Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits w/maple butter, $5 -- Red Lobster cheddar bay biscuits, these are not (though I still love those)! The biscuits were refined yet homey, flaky yet hearty, not too cheesy or bacon-y (I know, no such thing). The surprise was the maple butter. I was expecting it to be very sweet, but it was quite subtle, and helped accentuate the other flavors in the biscuit.
#2. Grilled Naan Flatbread, w/harissa yogurt sauce, $4 -- Served piping hot, with a nice crisp around the edges and a soft, chewy interior, these were great just on their own, and also very good with the cool yet piquant sauce.
#3. Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms, baby zucchini, sauce piperade, $10 -- Stuffed squash blossoms are hot these days. I've had similar dishes at Waterloo & City and at Shunji, and have seen them on the menus of other well regarded restaurants. The contrast of the light, crisp batter and the creamy ricotta was great. The shaved baby zucchini lightened the dish, and the piperade added a little heat to the party.
#4. Fontina/Parmesan Mac & Cheese, $12 -- Probably the best mac & cheese that I've ever had, it was, unsurprisingly, also a tremendous hit with the kids! The breadcrumbs were toasted to a golden brown on top. The pasta was al dente. The sauce had the perfect combination of creaminess and stretchy-cheesiness.
#5. Roasted Brussels Sprouts, emmental, hazelnuts, sage, $10 -- You know Brussels sprouts are a hit when your kids are clamoring for more. The outer leaves of the sprouts were caramelized to a crisp without being burnt, and the centers were still tender and verdant. The hazelnuts and crispy sage leaves complimented the crunch of the sprout leaves, and the emmental, slowly melting through the dish, bound everything together nicely.
#6. Seared Diver Scallops, bacon butter, savoy cabbage, puffed wild rice, $19 -- The scallops were sweet and tender and paired well with the cabbage. The puffed rice was a whimsical touch, providing additional texture to the dish.
#7. Grilled Yellowtail, smashed cauliflower, crispy onions, romesco sauce, $14 -- This dish was layered with flavors and textures, with the aromatic crunch of the onions contrasting with the sweet, slightly chunky romesco. The fish was firm and moist. I expected the cauliflower to be in mashed-potato form, but they remained in small florets, almost like cauliflower popcorn.
#8. White Oak Grilled Skirt Steak, grilled broccolini, red chimichurri, $18 -- Another of the kids favorites, the steak was perfectly medium-rare, with a nice crust on the outside. I had requested the chimichurri on the side, since this was to be the kids' main course, but it turned out to be not as spicy as I thought, and my older daughter enjoyed the sauce on the steak.
Chef LeFevre must have a secret to preparing vegetables; my kids fought over the broccolini in this dish after sparring over the Brussels sprouts earlier! :-)
#9. Steamed Mussels, green curry, Chinese sausage, coriander rice, $14 -- This is probably tied with FIG's as my favorite mussels dish anywhere. The bivalves were plump and tender, not an overcooked one in the bunch. Instead of fries or bread to sop up the soup, the scoop of sticky paired perfectly with the green curry. The sweet/spicy lapcheong was a great touch.
#10. The "Elvis," a wonderful mess of chocolate pudding, peanut butter mousse, bacon brittle, $7 -- A self-described mess, this dish was a little difficult to conquer, but we managed. I loved the brûlée bananas--sliced, sprinkled with sugar, and gently burned with a blowtorch.
#11. Valrhona Chocolate & Salted Caramel Tart, vanilla whipped cream, $6 -- The tart had a nice crust, which was good, as it kept the chocolate and caramel from escaping onto the plate as we dispatched this dessert. The whipped cream was a delight.
#12. Coffee Soft Serve, chocolate brownie, hazelnut crisp, $6 -- Probably my favorite dessert of the night, this was more of a thick shake than anything. I probably could have done without the brownies, the coffee ice cream was just that good, but that's more personal taste than anything else.
#13. Buttermilk Panna Cotta, polito farms citrus, almond streusel, $6 -- Surprisingly for me, as I am a huge panna cotta fun, this was probably my least favorite of the four desserts. That's not to say it wasn't delicious, but I almost felt that the panna cotta was a little over-powered by the grapefruit and the streusel that topped it.
I am so glad to have gotten to try MB Post. My family and I loved everything we had there. The highlights for me were the biscuits, the sprouts, and the mussels. I only wish it was closer to where I live.
Next time, I definitely want to try the pork jowl that I just read about in chrishei's review (http://oheithere.wordpress.com/2013/0...). It's pure coincidence that we're both posting about MB Post this week; BTW we are not actually joined at the hip. :-) I believe his visit preceded mine by about a month.
Manhattan Beach Post
1142 Manhattan Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266