M.B. Post Delivers As The Star of South Bay

Vietnamese Caramel Pork Jowl, Green Papaya Salad, Lime

There’s something really exciting going on over in Manhattan Beach. The cooking is so titillating I’d gladly make the trek to meet a Westside or South Bay friend at M.B. Post, Chef David LeFevre’s exciting and as-yet-still-new venture. It is this that he left Downtown L.A.’s seafood heavyweight, Water Grill, for and it’s a beautiful thing to see his unbridled passion coming out of the kitchen. Call M.B. Post a gastropub, if you will (everyone is doing it), but I can’t remember the last time the small plates in one spot hit it so consistently out of the park. They were playful, but also well-executed.

Cheese, Meats & Accompaniments

Each tasty bread selection is accompanied by a sauce of sorts, with maple butter on the side of their crumbly Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk biscuits, a delicious horseradish mustard on the side of the Fleur de Sel Pretzel and a harissa yogurt sauce dippable by naan. And if that doesn’t properly start things, don’t forget the cheese and cured meat selection – and all the accompaniments.

The cocktail menu by Sal Roses, Jerry Garbus, Gregg Wescott, and Beau du Bois is a composition of riffs on old favorites. I was more than pleased with my Manhattan Avenue, made with Sazerac Rye and finished off with bacon dust. The Landing Strip is their Aviation with a Creme de Violet twist. The real stand-out, though, is the Day of the Dead, made with Fortaleza Silver, amaretto, lemon and sage. It’s a refreshing yet boozefully delightful Spanish Fly – and Fortaleza is one of my favorite tequilas. If you’re feeling like an aperitif, go with their off-menu Virgil’s Ascent, a not-so-ordinary Negroni made with Hendricks, Aperol, pomegranate seeds and orange clove nectar. I love that all the cocktails were personalized to M.B. Post with the use natural fruits while still paying proper homage to the classics by being great stand-alone cocktails.

Yellow Cauliflower wtih Sultanas, Mint, Caper Berries

All of the vegetable dishes that we ordered were exceptional, from the Blistering Green Beans with Thai basil, chili sauce and crispy pork to the Yellow Cauliflower with sultanas, mint and caper berries. They also weren’t just roasted iron dishes brought out with different vegetables, but they were all individually constructed dishes, very thoughtfully seasoned with unique flavorings. Enjoy them before or with your seafood and/or meat dishes, because while I have yet to try their fish and shrimp plates, I can vouch that the Steamed Green Curry Mussels are pretty much as solid as others I’ve had elsewhere. While it’s probably more betraying of which piece of the food pie I’m partial to, I thought the meat dishes were the real highlights.

The Elvis: Peanut Butter Mousse, Caramelized Banana, Chocolate Pudding, Bacon Brittle

Such as the Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Jowl atop a green papaya salad. So tender and flavorful, this pork part is a must-order. The Meyers Farm “Never Ever” Skirt Steak is seasoned with a delicious red chimichurri sauce and comes accompanied by grilled broccolini. It’s got that perfect pink center and it’s as unordinary a skirt steak as I’ve had in recent memory. But don’t forget the Moroccan BBQ Lamb Belly with creamy semolina and cardamom carrots. And if you’re lucky enough to visit while Chef LeFevre still has the Albondigas on the menu, don’t forget those, either. (Bring your people.) It comes glazed with maple miso on top of garnet yam puree – perfectly delicious compliments - and the shishito peppers that top the meatballs make for a slightly spicy garnish.

Day of the Dead

As far as dessert, there are just enough offerings to satisfy that sweet tooth (admittedly, mine borders on savory), with my personal favorite, the Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake, coming in a sealed jar. But if you love all desserts Elvis, you’re sure to order this “wonderful mess” of peanut butter mousse, carmelized banana, chocolate pudding and bacon brittle. It’s the closest thing to that heavenly Wolvesmouth dessert since I’ve been.

M.B. Post wins as my favorite gastropub in South Bay – and dare I say, even all of L.A. Though I’m loath to let trends (yes, communal dining exists here too) filter through my radar, there’s no mistake that I immensely enjoyed practically everything Chef David LeFevre sent out of the kitchen. Then again, is it still a gastropub if there are only two draught beers on tap? To me, it’s not a weakness. It’s indicative of focus. So the end-all is that we can throw away the labels. I have no qualms about calling M.B. Post simply a great place that serves great small plates.

All food and cocktails were hosted.

Sun – Thur

5 – 10 PM

Fri – Sat

5 – 11 PM

M.B. Post
1142 Manhattan Ave.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
310.545.5405

@chefdlefevre

First Taste: Son of a Gun Is Not Your Mother’s Cooking

Shrimp Toast Sandwich | Herbs, Sriracha Mayo ($11)

The Animal boys are back at it with their heavy hand. This time, the medium is seafood, and there were certainly more hits than misses when I made my first visit last week.

Lobster Roll | Celery, lemon aioli ($7)

We started out with a lobster roll each, and were all glad that we turned this “shared plate” into a “per person” situation since it’s on the small side. It was a solid, Maine-style (with mayo) lobster roll with chips on top as a nice, crunchy touch and came in an appropriately buttery bun. Case closed.

The shrimp toast came next, and it was a quintessential umami moment. All conversation ceased as we chewed and thought, our tastebuds absolutely titillated, our eyes shut. We observed and relished the same reaction elicited from our neighbors by the dish at the large communal table at which we sat. This was a shared moment where I found myself not so annoyed by the communal, mess hall-style dining. On the other side of them, however, sat a New York food writer/ex-pat of a full year who amazingly stated that he didn’t believe Mexican food was better in LA than in New York. That’s another story. 😉

Brandade | Soft egg, arugula ($12)

Next came the brandade, which, not to belabor the point, was another essential small plate. The texture of the cod mixture was perfect – not too mushy, not too tacky. The whole grain mustard seeds kicked it up a notch. Though there might have been a period of time not so long ago where I was sick of seeing it everywhere, arugula was a nice choice, here, as the accompanying greens. The bitterness matched the mustard seeds really nicely. Of course, the runny egg with runny yolk is no small detail. What you have here is a bowl full of win.

While everything we had thus far was pretty rich, it wasn’t too much. But it was nice to mix things up with the Albacore Tataki, which was seasoned just perfectly with radish, citrus soy and a few sesame seeds. You could taste the freshness of the fish, and tt was a refreshing reprieve from all the other butter-based dishes we had. I’d order it again if only I weren’t so curious about the other fish dishes on the menu (like the Pink Grouper).

Albacore Tataki | Sesame seeds, radish, citrus soy ($12)

We had heard that the Fried Chicken Sandwich ($11) was a must-order, and so we did exactly that. It had a tasty, peppery breading surrounding hot, tender chicken. The jalapeno coleslaw with pickles was a really nice touch but I actually found myself wishing there were more jalapenos and much more kick in it. It was still solid, though.

The Alligator Schnitzel with hearts of palm and oranges ($14) came last, which was really the only miss in our whole meal. The schnitzel was largely forgettable and seemed an item that was put on the menu in order to widen its range. No matter. There are plenty of other delicious items to try.

With the menu changing daily, depending on ingredients, I feel like I had barely scratched the surface that is Son of a Gun. It’s a bustling dining spot with mostly communal tables and walk-in opportunities. They also have a good selection of cocktails (I did enjoy my Sazerac, but consumed it while occupying “standing room only”) which range from $8 – $16 and is only more reason why I feel like I need to go back. Although they’re open until 11 PM or even 1 AM on the weekends, they do run out of favorites. Don’t wait – it’s a really exciting place to eat. Just don’t be surprised if you bump a few elbows; it’s guaranteed you will.

Sun – Thur: 6 PM – 11 PM
Fri – Sat: 6 PM – 1 AM

Lunch service coming soon

Son of a Gun
8370 W. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
323.782.9033