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James Beard nominees

Foodie Friday: M.B. Post

A few weeks ago, my parents were in town for a visit, though they spent most of their week in The O.C.—Newport Beach to be exact. Work was too busy to join them, so I compromised and met them in Manhattan Beach one night for dinner. It was recently announced that Manhattan Beach Post (M.B. Post) was a semifinalist for a 2012 James Beard Award (Best New Restaurant) and after a friend recommended it highly, I thought it was apropos and a great place to take my parents.

For a Wednesday night, it was insanely busy. A self-proclaimed “social house”…they ain’t kidding. The hostess seemed a bit overwhelmed as she asked us to please move away from check in and reminded us that our reservation was in ten minutes. Once seated, it became apparent that this place wasn’t just bustling; it was LOUD. If you want to know just how loud, take your parents. It’s sort of like how you forget just how R-rated a movie is until you rewatch it with your parents—everything becomes pronounced. Talking over loud music and a full house was not exactly how I envisioned our refined night out, but if you are looking for where the action is, this is it.

We started with their hand-crafted cocktails, trying their Avila’s Heir, Old George (most popular) and Pushing Daisies. I love a great old school cocktail, but it was a tad ambitious for a restaurant of this size that was maxed to capacity. I wasn’t wowed by any and they took a long time to arrive, though I do give props for the rose petal and black pepper in my bubbles—inventive and beautiful.

Here we go again with the small plates. Though, they aren’t as small as other restaurants, so err on the side of not enough food and then order more if you are still hungry. Overall, the food was good—a lively mix of flavors (from Indian to Asian). The best thing on the menu was the first to arrive—bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits with maple butter. I would go back for these alone. Next up was my second favorite—asparagus and poached jidori egg with mushrooms. Then, on to blistering blue lake green beans. Trying to recreate the mushrooms we had at Mercado di Vetro, we tried their hen of the woods mushrooms with creamy semolina and crispy shallots. This is about the time we should have slowed down our ordering. We still had shrimp, chorizo and lentil soup (delicious!),  diver scallops with shrimp ginger dumplings & katsuo dashi broth, Meyers Farm skirt steak with grilled broccolini & red chimichurri (the main favorite), and red wine braised beef cheeks. By the time the soy glazed veal ribs arrived nobody could eat another bite. Literally. We sent the last dish back untouched.

Manhattan Beach was in a need of a restaurant of this calibur—a far cry from the beach shacks and sports bars. But judging by the boisterous crowd, you can take the kids out of the college, but you can’t take the college out of the kids.

M.B. Post.  1142 Manhattan Avenue.  Manhattan Beach, CA.  310-545-5405