David LeFevre at Manhattan Beach Post
Last week, I introduced Manhattan Beach Post‘s cocktails with a tease that Chef David LeFevre’s food was phenomenal. Recently Chef David left Water Grill in Downtown Los Angeles for the less formal MB Post. Due to his background with seafood and his new restaurant being close to the water, I expected MB Post to be fairly heavy with the seafood dishes. I was surprised that my favorite dishes this evening were actually some of the meatier meat dishes.
We started with a bread plate with grilled flatbread, bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits and fleur del sel pretzel. I silently wished I could have eaten both biscuits by myself. They were so good! The other bread was good too but take my advice, order more biscuits for yourself! They were served with a maple butter which went well with the savory cheesy goodness. The pretzel was served with David’s nuclear horseradish mustard and the harissa yogurt sauce went with the flatbread. We also enjoyed three honeys; honeycomb, chestnut honey and truffle honey.
Next we had a lavish cheese and cured meats platter. I was convinced to try the blue cheese; Mycella Blue, which I actually enjoyed. Usually it’s too funky for me but this creamy cheese made me a believer. I’ll have to look up the Mycella Blue by Michael Staub Holm in Denmark. I found myself easily snacking on the pickled veggies, nuts and thin slices of apple.
We dove right in with albondigas which were a special that day. Served in a cast iron pan with garnet yam puree, shishito peppers and covered with a maple miso glaze, I was thrown off by the Mexican-Asian fusion. But it reminded me of something- my own cooking. Not that my own cooking is anything near as great as Chef David’s but it reminded me of how I play with different ingredients and how I’m influenced by the different cuisines around me. I try to sneak miso into lots of things and I love meatballs. This was a natural fit.
I’m never tired of mussels but after eating these with green curry, Vietnamese sausage and coriander rice, I wondered how quickly could I get back to MB Post and order just this dish. In fact, I saw a lone dinner consuming this to her heart’s delight. I may even try to finangle an extra order of rice!
Brussels sprouts and cauliflower were great veggie sides. All the veggie sides sounded great including the salt roasted baby beets and asparagus and poached Jidori hen egg with mushrooms.
The next round of food brought more protein to the table. We had the organic free range chicken breast with panzanella (bread), eggplant puree and green olive pesto. I think you can really taste the difference in a free range chicken. It’s sweeter, juicier and well, tastier to me. It hardly needed the sauces.
The Meyers Farm “Never Ever” skirt steak came with grilled broccolini and red chimichurri. If only I had more room in my stomach. The beef was perfectly grilled.
My absolute favorite dishes of the night were the Vietnamese caramel pork jowl and the blistering green beans. Chef David came out to talk to us and mentioned he would love to make his own fish sauce. You can tell he loves the stuff with the pork jowl dish. It was actually quite a lean cut which I wasn’t expecting. I wonder if I could get a side of that coriander rice I loved from the mussels. I’d be quite happy eating just the pork, green beans and some rice.
It hardly needs to be explained what came next. Yes, dessert! I’m still trying to wean myself off sugar but hey, that’s what tomorrow is for.
The lemon ricotta cheesecake came in a cute jar with stewed apricots, cornmeal streusel and marcona almonds. This may well be the lightest of all the desserts. On the other side of the spectrum, the Elvis is described as a “wonderful mess” of peanut butter mousse, caramelized banana, chocolate pudding AND bacon brittle. Yes! Bacon! Chocolate! Peanut Butter! Banana! I think I just saw Elvis!
The other favorite of the table was the strawberry-verbena shortcake. It also is a light-ish dessert. The simple shortcake is stuffed with fresh diced strawberries and whipped vanilla cream.
If Elvis wasn’t in the building, I would have naturally honed in on the chocolate cherry pudding cake. With a black cherry granita and creme fraiche, we were wondering how could this be both pudding and a cake! Perhaps the mystery may not be solved as we ate it up and it disappeared before I could further ponder the situation of cake-pudding.
The South Bay has it going on with MB Post. What a great place for some seriously refined cooking and an ambitious craft cocktail program.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266