Can You Dig It?
Manhattan Beach Post (M.B. Post)
1142 Manhattan Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Dining date: 7/16/11
M.B. Post chef David LeFevre turned 40 earlier this month. To celebrate, he organized a dinner at his restaurant this past Monday featuring a rather strong cast of chefs from around LA. Animal, Mozza, Sotto, and Rustic Canyon/Milo&Olive/Huckleberry are some of the more popular restaurants in the city, and they’d all be represented in this meal. Each chef (or chef team) teamed up for a course to bring together this 5-courser. Proceeds went to benefit Common Threads.
While our party originally had a reservation to Angelini Osteria’s iteration of the 5×5 Collaborative Dinner (featuring guest chef Michael Tusk of Quince/Cotogna), we opted to make the trip to Manhattan Beach. It was my third trip to the restaurant (I’ve been once for dinner and once for brunch and enjoyed both).
bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits, maple butter
It wouldn’t be a celebration without M.B. Post’s ever-popular bacon cheddar biscuits. Given it was the first time at M.B. Post for the rest of our party, I was slightly worried I’d talked them up too much. No worries here. Everyone loved the warm smoky, cheesy biscuits as much as I did. And the maple butter is ridiculous. Can’t go wrong with these guys.
gem lettuce, pickled beets, bread crumbs, green garlic crème fraiche - Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo (Animal, Son of a Gun)
This dish was a little bit of a departure from some of the heavier dishes the Animal guys seem to be known for. Crisp lettuce and sweet beets were complemented by some crispy breadcrumbs and fennel fronds; I found the clumps of creme fraiche to be too unevenly distributed though.
hamachi grilled over white oak with tomatoes and bitter greens pesto - David LeFevre (M.B. Post)
The hamachi was cooked beautifully; it was a bit of a denser fish yet still pretty juicy. Grapes, tomatoes and bell peppers provided a sweet flavor dynamic to counteract the bitter greens pesto. Waxy green beans topped it all off. This might’ve been my favorite dish of the night.
orecchiette with sausage & swiss chard - Matt Molina (Mozza)
I had high hopes for this one given that I enjoy Osteria Mozza’s pastas. The housemade orecchiette was quite chewy, smothered in a hearty sausage ragu. The salt and spice were slightly heavy-handed, though I liked the breadcrumbs.
beef short rib alla vaccinara, bitter chocolate agrodolce, semolina gnocco - Steve Samson & Zach Pollack (Sotto)
This dish was originally to feature veal cheek, then beef cheek and finally a late-game change brought short ribs to the plate. I would’ve loved to have had the cheek, but found this short rib to be very well done. It tore apart easily, and was so tender and flavorful, pairing with the rich sauce (though I didn’t get so much of the sweet-sour flavor combination). The gnocco was a fun addition too, being a sort of crushed, creamy version of gnocchi. A little bit of what I thought was shaved celery was a nice touch too, adding a fresh crispness.
fresh corn cake with sweet rose creamery corn ice cream and strawberry rhubarb compote - Zoe Nathan (Rustic Canyon, Huckleberry, Sweet Rose Creamery, Milo & Olive)
I had heard about this dish (or something similar) at Rustic Canyon and was eager to try it here. The cake was moist, light and sweet from the corn. Nice. The strawberry rhubarb compote was really good too, as was the corn ice cream. This may have been the best dish of the night too..
assorted cookies and pastries served with spiked milk
A serious bounty of sweets came last, presumably from Huckleberry. If that wasn’t enough, it was paired with a glass of spiced, spiked milk. I was pretty impressed with these sample-size treats which included lemon bars, macaroons, homemade twix, chocolate cupcakes, sugar cookies, and whole wheat chocolate chip cookies.
I thought this meal was good, though it had its up and downs. I always like dinners like these where notable chefs come together for one meal. My favorites were the biscuits, hamachi, short rib and corn cake. I will be back to M.B. Post; I’ve been craving a proper dinner visit.