You can tell a city has entered a seafood renaissance when several of its most admired chefs and restauranteurs make it a centerpiece of their sophomore-or-later efforts. We watched with delight as they’ve sprung up all over town these past couple of years, and as recently as last week. It’s indicative of a supply feeding the demand, which appears to still grow.
There’s a clean cut quality about the space and atmosphere inside Manhattan Beach’s CafÃ© Pierre that somehow I can’t match up with Chef Remi Lauvand’s unbridled passion for food. But if you are paying attention, you’ll notice that each dish, when brought out to the table, has been handled with the utmost care. No corners are cut on ingredients or preparation.
That is, dish or canister.
The canister beholding the foie gras was one that never closed. Well, neither did the one containing the pigs trotter. Nor the head cheese or duck rillettes. If you have concern for sustainability, no need to worry at Cafe Pierre – they use the entire animal. We only had occasion to slow the rate at which we sampled by having to avoid the tiny bones in the anchovies – also stuffed into an identical glass jar. Presentation may not be everything, but the freshness of the dishesÂ is consistent withÂ their preservation inside the sealed jars. Frisee is often paired with each taste so as to cut through the vibrancy of each animal “cut.”
And if you have trouble deciding which other starters to head off your “starter jars,” go for the Veal Sweetbreads or Cote de Boeuf, complete with bone marrow. TheÂ Grilled Octopus is probably the most tender octopusÂ I’ve ever had, withÂ an excellent, mild but intriguingÂ flavor.Â The jalapeno veal, while ambitious, was a bit weird. But you’d be remiss if you overlooked the pork at Cafe Pierre. We enjoyed a slice of porkÂ tenderloin (Guess what? It was very tender) from a very specialÂ acorn-fed hog by Jude Becker – of which there only exist probably a hundred this round.