Manhattan Beach Post (M.B. Post)
1142 Manhattan Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Dining date: 5/19/11
M.B. Post opened one month ago, one of the more highly publicized restaurant openings in the Beach Cities area. The chef is David LeFevre, formerly of the one Michelin-starred Water Grill downtown. The concept here is very different; instead of the super-refined, seafood-centric fare of Water Grill, the menu here is more comfortable and balanced, showcasing seasonal ingredients and bold flavors in a “social house” atmosphere. The GM put it well, saying ”David finally gets to cook what he likes to eat.” Clearly he’s on to something; this place was packed on a Wednesday night.
I had been interested in trying this place since it opened; however had not made it out to Manhattan Beach area yet. When I was invited to come take the menu for a spin, it was the “gentle nudge” I needed.
We opted to allow Chef LeFevre full rein to choose some dishes for us. Meanwhile, we started with two cocktails.
Sun Also Rises blood & sand w/ compass box oak cross, rhubarb, blood orange
This cocktail had citrus notes up front, while the scotch was more noticeable on the finish.
Mo-Pho-Jito mojito w/ starr, kaffir lime, mint, ginger, coriander honey
I thought this sounded too interesting not to try. It was pretty much like a mojito, but with Asian accents from ginger and coriander. Pretty good. I’m just glad there wasn’t any raw beef involved.
Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits maple butter
Fleur De Sel Pretzel horseradish mustard
Grilled Naan Flatbread harissa yogurt
Next up were a trio of breads with their own spread. All three of these were tasty, served warm, with the biscuits probably being my favorite. Bacon and cheddar flavors permeated the dough, which was moist and fluffy. The maple butter presented a delightful sweet counterpoint. I wish I could somehow get this for breakfast.
Charcuterie and Cheese: Jamon Serrano, La Quercia Organic Prosciutto, Weybridge (cow), Mycella Blue (cow), Assorted Pickles, Marinated Olives, Honey Selection
A large assortment of cured meats, cheese and accompaniments was served next. A little bit overkill for a party of two, I was glad to be able to try a selection of things. I liked both the serrano ham and the prosciutto, while the cheeses were complemented by a really impressive array of honeys. I don’t remember what all of them were, but they each had a distinctive flavor and sweetness – really cool.
Dirge: Corpse Reviver corpse reviver w/old raj, lillet, lemon, absinthe
This cocktail had citrus overtones from the lemon, mellowing out the gin, with just a touch of licorice flavor from the absinthe.
Grilled Yellow Peach with Rocket Greens whipped ricotta, candied walnuts
This dish screamed ‘summer,’ centered around a sweet yellow peach. The grilling really brought out the sweetness, which was countered by the bitter arugula. Whipped ricotta added some richness to the dish, while walnuts provided the crunch.
Salt Roasted Baby Beets drake family farms chevre, pistachio & beet green pesto
The beets were surprisingly sweet, really refreshing. I liked the pesto as well, adding a bright vibrant flavor, while the pistachios added some texture.
Steamed Mussels green curry, Vietnamese sausage, sticky rice
This was one of our most highly anticipated items and it did not disappoint. The plump mussels were cooked well, accented by a light and milky thai curry. Some sausage added salt and meatiness, while the sticky rice was very good.
Alaskan Halibut sautéed with basil, kalamata olive and early summer vinaigrette
The halibut was beautifully prepared with a crispy sear and moist flaky interior. Some summer vegetables were a nice accompaniment, while the vinaigrette provided just enough acidity.
Vietnamese Caramel Pork Jowl green papaya salad, lime
We’d probably had enough food at this point, but it was on to the richer meat courses. I can’t remember the last time I had pork jowl (cheek), but it had a rich fattiness like pork belly. I found the pork to be a little bit too sweet for me (especially with the richness of the fat), though the green papaya salad did help to cut through much of that.
Myers Farm “Never Ever” Skirt Steak grilled ramps, red chimichurri
Hard to go wrong with a nicely cooked skirt steak. The grilling imbued a strong smokiness to this tender cut, while I appreciated the chimichurri for adding an extra flavor profile.
Blistering Green Beans thai basil, chili sauce, crispy pork
As a side, we had some green beans which brought with them quite a bit of heat, balanced by some radishes. The crispy pork was a nice touch.
Three Point Tart macerated strawberries & rhubarb, buttermilk panna cotta
Here we had a light pastry filled with a sweet fruit. To balance this out, the slightly tart buttermilk panna cotta was smooth and rich, quite tasty.
Chocolate Cherry Pudding Cake black cherry granité, vanilla crème fraiche
I thought this was a pretty solid chocolate cake. Not particularly memorable (there are so many chocolate cake variations out there now), but executed well. The tartness of the cherry granité nicely balanced the sweetness of the chocolate and vanilla.
Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake stewed apricots, cornmeal streusel, marcona almonds
I enjoyed this cheesecake; the lemon was the standout ingredient for me here. I liked the streusel and almonds as well, adding some sweetness and texture. The apricots were a nice touch.
This was a very good meal (and large; I think we easily had enough food for four). The menu has a lot of options and it was all done pretty well, from the bread to dessert. Whereas some of Water Grill’s cuisine can seem inaccessible or stuffy for some, MB Post prepared plates filled with familiar, yet engaging flavors – exactly what I think LeFevre was aiming for. I could see why this place was so popular, and I expect MB Post to continue to be a hot spot for both good food and drink.
Note: This was a sponsored meal.