Manhattan Beach: Lots of Seafood at Fishing with Dynamite
Recently I was invited to try Fishing with Dynamite in Manhattan Beach. I had been looking forward to Chef David LeFebvre’s newest restaurant. M.B. Post is one of my fave places and I was admittedly surprised by the initial menu it wasn’t more seafood. With Fishing with Dynamite, I can fully give into my seafood addiction.
I love towers of seafood just waiting to be consumed. We chose the smallest platter, the S.S. Minnow but couldn’t help but add a few extra goodies. The S.S. Minnow comes with 4 oysters, 2 clams, 4 shrimp, 6 mussels and half a lobster. It’s recommended for 1-2 people. We added half a Dungeness crab and a couple more oysters. We also got the already famous Peruvian scallops which came separately. I loved all the sauces but my favorites were the mignonette for the oysters and the yuzu kusho mayo for the jumbo shrimp, crab and lobster. I liked the mussels and clams as they were.
Other platters are called the Queen Mary which serves 3-4 and the Mothershucker serving 5-6.
It’s always exciting for me to check out a new cocktails list. I check to see if there’s something for everyone, for any interesting spirits I haven’t tried before and my favorite sort of cocktails (brown, bitter, stirred, sours/fizzes). I started out with the Regalo de Dios because I have been exploring the agave spirits category lately. I found it pretty cool Fishing with Dynamite had a sotol cocktail on the list when some are just discovering mezcal (after of course being convinced tequila is not that evil bad stuff you have in college).
Regalo de Dios – Hacienda de Chihuahua sotol, Combier, strawberry-rhubarb puree, serrano, rhubarb bitters
As mentioned, FWD has been getting a lot of buzz for their Peruvian scallops. On its own baby bed of crushed ice, the scallops were beautiful in presentation and taste. Such clean and simple sauce for the fresh scallops.
A table mate chose the Innocents Abroad as her cocktail. It wasn’t quite what I expected for a sparkling cocktail since it was rather thick with the passionfruit puree. It isn’t too sweet though and I’d probably have it closer to dessert rather than an apertif cocktail.
I recommend getting the November Rain instead if you want to whet your palate. It’s essentially a modern gibson and the savory elements goes well with food.
Innocents Abroad – Starr rum, Prosecco, passionfruit puree, lavender simple syrup, lavender water, Thai basil
November Rain – dill-infused G’vine gin, Dolin dry vermouth rinse, pickled onion and Castelvetrano olive garnish
We couldn’t decide which of the two soups to get so we got both. If you like traditional clam chowder, I would recommend the New England clam “chowdah.” But if you’re feeling adventurous, try the Thai Shellfish and Coconut soup.
The Thai soup still has a lot of creaminess and I like the addition of rice noodles with the shrimp and mussels.
There’s been a recent trend of riffing on classic cocktails. FWD takes a Boulevardier (whiskey, Campari, sweet vermouth) and twists it with white dog whiskey (technically not really a whiskey since it’s unaged) and instead of using Campari, they go with the less bitter Aperol. Served in a really pretty and elegant coupe, this is my favorite sort of cocktail; brown, bitter and stirred.
Original Gangster – White dog whiskey, Aperol, Vya sweet vermouth, grapefruit bitters
One of my favorite dishes was the crab cake. It was enormous and to describe it as “chock full” of crab would almost be an understatement. I don’t even think I would be exaggerating by saying there’s probably half a crab in there.
I loved this hamachi crudo. The sweetness came through and worked well with the thinly shaved crunchy cucumbers and radish.
I always have room in my life for expertly grilled octopus. I shamelessly lunged for a tentacle. Maybe two tentacles. I also really liked the accompanying beans with this dish.
Earlier I mentioned I enjoy sours and fizzes quite a bit. FWD has a sour called a Rag Doll. It’s almost like an Aviation sour.
Rag Doll – Old Grove blueberry infused gin, No. 3 gin, Creme de Violette, egg white, rosemary simple syrup, lime
If you want a great piece of cooked fish, the loup de mer would be a good choice. And if you’re not going the family style route, this was a nice sized portion for one. Tender, flakey and finished off with a squeeze of lime, this would be a perfect meal with a glass of wine.
The cocktail list led with what type of cocktail it was but I was unfamiliar with a Jabberwok which turned out to be a classic Savoy cocktail. FWD’s riff is called Through the Looking Glass. It keeps to pretty much the same specs as a Jabberwok including the sherry. I would also try this cocktail earlier in the evening as a starting cocktail.
Through the Looking Glass – No. 3 gin, Tio Pepe fino sherry, Cocchi Americano, orange bitters, Dolin dry vermouth rinse
The surprise hit of the night were the Cape Cod squash rolls. Chef David said whenever his mom made these, they would fight over them. I’d fight for my piece, too. The rolls are served with a rosemary butter which I didn’t need but slathered on rather thickly anyway.
The clams were so plentiful and amazing. But funny story, we were really, really full so I had the rest the next morning. I made myself a clams omelette and tossed in some of the leftover linguica sausage as well. See, I’m a great cook when I have great “ingredients” (leftovers).
I try to resist ordering miso cod even though I generally always love it. I didn’t want to order what seemed to be a standard dish but Chef David’s version was solid. It doesn’t have the slightly sweet flavor I associate with miso cod but it did have a really cool addition- adzuki beans. Usually I see these beans in Asian desserts so it was nice to see it in a savory application.
I mentioned I like fizzes and sours so naturally I also like flips which uses the whole egg in a cocktail. The Branding Iron combines the beer cocktail trend with flips and you basically have a dessert cocktail. I also think beer floats are great and this reminded me of one as well (though there isn’t any ice cream- the creaminess comes from the egg yolk). I thought it was interesting there were two types of beer- a pilsner and a witte bier.
Branding Iron – Oro acholado pisco, egg, vanilla syrup, lemon, Elemental Pilsner, Ommegang Witte Bier, Angostura bitters, nutmeg
For fans of salted caramel, try the pretzel bread pudding. The slight saltiness from the pretzel bread is perfect with the caramel sauce. It’s also served a la mode and the cool ice cream contrasted so well with the warm chocolate bread pudding.
I love key lime pie. FWD’s version is now my new favorite version. Just the perfect amount of tartness and beautiful presentation.
Chef David’s new spot is perfect for the seafood lover. I find myself craving the crab cake, seafood platters, soup and dessert. Oh damn, I’m hungry now.
1148 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 — (310) 893-6299© The Minty 2013