Sunday, April 14, 2013

Manhattan Beach Post: Brunching by the Beach

The lure of Chef David LeFevre's by now infamous Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits at MB Post
was near irresistible - but the 'long' drive from the SFV (when I had to do a Valley to West LA commute 5 days a week already) curbed my foodie cravings...until a few weeks ago, when my brunch lovin' friend Curses reminded me just how long this has been on our To Do list.
So we made the trek down - and the 'tagline of "a social house" is very appropriate - the sunlit dining room was upscale yet very laid back, with a 'neighborhood gem' vibe - though of course the place is by now very well known - and there was a long communal table for those open to making new friends.

For us of course the Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits ($5, 2 biscuitsper order) were our first order of business!  They definitely lived up to the hype - buttery, flaky mounds of cheesy, salty, bacon-y deliciousness taken over the top in a good way by the lightest maple butter.

MB Post also has a great craft cocktail selection, even for brunch. I got the Old George ($12) salty dog with chopin, grapefruit, basil and raspberry pepper jam as I was intrigued by the addition of the tart/sweet/spicy jam.  A bright, cheery looking drink despite the name - I loved the refreshing interplay of flavors that definitely was not a run-of-the-mill brunch drink.

I can never turn down poached eggs and/or polenta any time of day, and MB Post delivers a lovely version with a sort of surprise twist: Poached Egg, Tomato & White Bean Ragout, Creamy Polenta, Bianco Sardo ($13) It goes without saying that the liquid sun of runny yolk and rich, smooth polenta were made for each other - but the tomato added a nice bright burst of acidity and splash of bold color to the dish, while the white bean and other veggies in the ragout provided textural interest.  The sheep's milk cheese also lent a nice richness to the dish.

For a side, Nueske's Bacon with rosemary, brown sugar and chili ($8) came in an adorable mini Staub pan.  It's commonplace to see sweetened bacon, but we loved the addition of chili for a bit of heat that made the interplay of flavors much more interesting (and addictive)
Curses was the one who spotted the Truffle Honey Laced Fried Chicken, kholrabi slaw ($15) and knew they had me at truffle.  We thought the honey was fantastic, but the chicken was disappointing - we expected it to be juicier, more tender and flavorful meat inside with crisper batter outside, but it was just passable in texture and flavor.  (Plan Check's fried chicken is still my fav...)

The Pineapple Lemon Skillet Cake with vanilla maple syrup ($11) was essentially a thick pancake in a skillet - with a lovely spread of fruit on top that made it very photogenic.  We loved the first few bites when it was steaming hot - and it may have been that we just ordered way too much food, and had filled up by the time we got to this one - but we thought it was just a little too thick and too much batter with too subtle flavor, and the dish overall did not have enough texture contrast, to hold our interest to the end.

All in all though, a great brunch and the biscuits alone were worth the trek.  But the bonus came after brunch: since MB Post is literally 2 very short blocks from the perfectly manicured, tourist-free gorgeousness that is Manhattan Beach - we had a great time walking off our brunch along the sunny path, and admiring the architecture of multi-million dollar homes along the stretch. (Although parking can be a pain in the area, and MB Post does not offer valet, once you do find a spot though in the lots 1 street above or below the restaurant, you can stay for 2 hours up to 5 hours depending on the lot, so that's convenient for those who want to stay and make an enjoyable afternoon of it on the beach or shopping at the boutique stores along the main stretch of Manhattan Blvd.)

Just wish that we had brought down bikes - as there are no rental spots along or near the path (which I think makes a difference in a good way versus Santa Monica or Venice - in keeping the vibe very local / community versus commercialized and touristy).

Will look to come back next time I'm craving beach time, which I'm sure I will this Spring/Summer!

On a 7 point scale:
Flavor - 5.5 bites  
Presentation - 6 bites
Originality - 5.5 bites
Ambience -  6 stars
Service - 6 stars
Overall experience - 6 bites
Price - $$ (2 bite marks)
Probability of return visit - 90% 


Manhattan Beach Post
1142 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach,CA 90266
Ph: 310.545.5405

Parking: public lots available on Ocean or Highland (no valet parking :( )


M.B. Post on Urbanspoon



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