Chef David LeFevre's Manhattan Beach Post set to open mid-April
It's in a former post office in downtown Manhattan Beach, at the corner of Manhattan Beach Boulevard and Manhattan Avenue, just steps away from the beach. "I’ve lived down here for over six years," LeFevre says, "and I really love the community, the lifestyle and really wanted to provide the community with some food I enjoy, the kind of food I’m interested in eating -– seasonal, soulful, it's pretty personal, a return to my roots." On the planned menu are "lots of vegetable dishes, seafood, we're baking our own breads," such as bacon-and-cheddar buttermilk biscuits with sweet Vermont maple butter, and pretzels with sea salt, caraway and horseradish mustard made in-house.
He goes on to list the kind of food that's on his mind: wood-grilled cauliflower with saltanas, capers and mint; salsify grilled with stewed prunes and sage; Kona kampachi with puffed rice and yuzu kosho; olive-oil-poached Tasmanian sea trout with kaffir lime; Moroccan barbecue lamb belly; Vietnamese lacquered pork jowl with green papaya and mint; Devil’s Gulch rabbit confit with grilled figs and sage. "So I want to do stuff that’s simple but not boring and that people aren’t doing down here. I really want a little foodie restaurant but make it accessible. We're planning to open mid-April-ish, knock on wood."
The restaurant is at least partly inspired by an early memory of his parents' description of a trip they took to Spain on their first visit to Europe. "I remember them saying, 'No matter what we wanted to spend we could always get a great meal with great product,' " LeFevre says. "That wasn't just tapas, it was everything. I really want the restaurant to have that feel, if you really want to go crazy and order luxurious food and wine we’ll be able to give you that, but also provide an accessibly priced menu."
The design by architect Stephen Jones is a nod to the building's history as a post office (hence the name Manhattan Beach Post, or M.B. Post), featuring reclaimed woods, arched 20-foot ceilings with wood beams, metal-paned windows, and an antique postal desk in the bar area, where cocktails will include classics and specialty drinks. "We're down by the beach," says LeFevre, "so there will be fresh, bright, flavorful cocktails -- some will have muddled fruit, house-made syrups, a lot of accoutrements from the kitchen -- dehydrated fruit, preserves, salts, we're really making an effort not to serve typical blender pina coladas."
The restaurant seats 90, and of those 35 to 40 are at communal tables. "The whole idea is really getting people back around the table, to be social, be engaged," LeFevre says. "It's a social house."
-- Betty Hallock
Photo credit: Christina Gilmour for M.B. Post