Sunday, November 11, 2012

Manhattan Beach Post

Manhattan Beach Post is a soulful restaurant under Michelin-star Chef David LeFevre offering a more rustic menu of playful, artisanal dishes designed to be shared, and complemented by artfully crafted cocktails and small production wines.  When you dine at MB Post, you’ll find a carefully edited selection of seasonal dishes. Categorized by Breads; Charcuterie, Cheese and Larders; Vegetable dishes; Seafood dishes; and Meat dishes, all are meant to stand on their own as a dish, not sides, for the table. The goal is to encourage guests to sample their way through the menu and enjoy an array of new ingredients, flavors, and textures.

The look and feel of MB Post was crafted to reflect the beach community's relaxed and vibrant ocean–front culture and pay homage to the space's 196's postal office origins. The exposed rafters, cement floors, sun-bleached reclaimed wood, communal tables, and a color scheme borrowing from the local lifeguard stands, anchor whimsical embellishments like volleyball posts repurposed as shelving, and a vintage post office desk.  The vibe is upscale California-chic with nostalgic 1990's popular music blaring that gets the social juices flowing. 

Keith and I had dinner here and while we intended to meet up with other friends, they could not make it last minute, so we enjoyed the evening to ourselves.  The dining room was very crowded and noisy, but in a jovial way - I was a little surprised at first but soon settled right in.  Our server was a great saleswoman, pushing specialty cocktails and the bacon cheddar biscuits right away.  We indulged and placed the order for the biscuits while Keith was sold on the Man in A Yellow Hat - a cocktail made of sour mix with Del Maguey Vida, banana, lemon, coconut, and cardamom spice.  He asked for something with vodka or gin and she described this drink as having smooth bourbon undertones (ohhhkay - not what he asked for lady!).  Needless to say, Keith did not like his "manly" cocktail, yet I did enjoy my glass of Riesling while nibbling on the sinful bacon cheddar biscuits. I told him to order something else, but he managed to finish the fruity cocktail and later ordered a gin & tonic.

We then ordered a starter of the housemade ricotta with herbed olive oil and picante salami.  It arrived on a pretty wooden platter with rustic toast, almonds, apples, pickled grapes, and pumpkin spread.  I absolutely adore this type of charcuterie presentation and the ricotta was full of rich flavor that married well with the spicy sausage slices.  Give me a cheese platter like this with a glass of wine and I am a happy camper.  But it is not enough for Keith, so we order the Shrimp, Chorizo, and Beluga Lentil Soup with yogurt, red onion, and cilantro. The soup is bursting with flavor - almost like a light chili - and is very warm and satisfying for a cool night such as this.  The shrimp and lentils are plentiful and accented with a hint of acid and tang from the yogurt and cilantro.  An excellent dish.   For a vegetable dish to share we picked the Blistering Blue Lake Green Beans seasoned with Thai basil and chili sauce, with bits of crispy pork.  The green beans were fresh, but the oily sauce overpowered and brought a Chinese food quality to the dish that I could have done without.  For my main, I chose the Grilled Mahi Mahi that came with cauliflower mash and crispy onions, topped with a vinegary Romesco sauce.  The piece of fish was thick and decent, but totally undercooked - leaving me very disappointed.  It was not just rare on the inside, it was raw and uncuttable with my fork.  Too bad, as it was a nice piece of fish so I hated to see it mishandled in this way.  Keith enjoyed his White Oak Grilled Skirt Steak, which was cooked perfectly and also a generous portion.  The broccolini was crunchy and fresh, but the red chimichurri sauce was overly spicy - killing his taste buds - and almost ruining the flavor of the meat itself.  Keith has a high tolerance for spice, so for him to mention several times how spicy this was, must be noted.  His breath smelled like kimchi the rest of the night too, so probably not a good dish to order when on a first date. 

Overall, the high quality of the ingredients used at MB Post was evident and the mixture of flavors was interesting.  The atmosphere was fun and social and despite a few glitches with my fish and the spicy chimichurri, I enjoyed my meal as a whole.  The cuisine at MB Post compares to other foodie establishments we've been to, so it was a real treat.

Total Rating: 4.28
Food: 4.5, Price: 4, Service: 3.5, Ambience: 4, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:

Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits
with maple butter

In House Ricotta (Goat) with Herbed Olive Oil & Picante Salami
with rustic toast, almonds, apples, pickled grapes, and pumpkin spread

Blistering Blue Lake Green Beans
Thai basil, chili sauce, crispy pork

Shrimp, Chorizo, and Beluga Lentil Soup
with yogurt, red onion, cilantro

Grilled Mahi Mahi
with cauliflower mash, crispy onions, Romesco sauce

 Plus Keith ate:
White Oak Grilled Skirt Steak
with grilled broccolini and red chimichurri sauce

  M.B. Post on Urbanspoon

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