By Jill Weinlein, 2/23/2012
I’ve been eager to try one of my favorite chef’s newest endeavors, MB Post. I first met David LeFevre at The Water Grill for a clambake dinner. My party and I were impressed with the dishes coming out of his kitchen. Two years ago I was saddened to hear that he left downtown, but happy to hear that LeFevre was opening his own restaurant
LeFevre originally hails from Wisconsin, and is now a beach boy living in Manhattan Beach, just a few blocks from his restaurant.
MB Post has already become a hit, so be sure to make reservations. It’s packed. The bar area has communal tables open for walk-ins, but they fill up quickly. Since the location was once the original Manhattan Beach Post Office, LeFevre kept the theme throughout MB Post. If you reserve a table, the hostess, keeping with the postal theme, will lead you to your table and hand you an envelope with your name on it. Enclosed is the MB Post menu folded like a letter.
My daughter and I sat against the old, textured brick wall with the words “Local”, “Air” and “Parcel” stenciled on the surface. The dark brown exposed beams and pumpkin colored walls add to the rustic décor.
“The wood is from the trestle that supported a railroad in Salt Lake City,” explained LeFevre as he strolled by our table welcoming new guests and shaking hands with his regulars.
He sat with us for a few minutes to talk about his new chapter in life. “I’m kinda getting used to this morning thing,” he said while wiping his brow. LeFevre recently designed a brunch menu and is now open on the weekends from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. That means Friday night he locks up around 12:30 a.m. and is back at 6 a.m. on Sat. to start baking bread and preparing for brunch. Yikes!
I can’t feel too sorry for LeFevre, he is young, extremely talented, lives at the beach and adored by all who step into his social house. Folks enjoy seeing him cruising the Santa Monica, El Segundo and South Bay farmers markets buying fresh produce for his daily specials.
Growing up in Madison, he enjoyed cooking with his mom. After graduating from high school, LeFevre enrolled in the University of Wisconsin’s Industrial Engineering program. He missed practicing his culinary skills, he left the engineering world and entered the esteemed CIA (Culinary Institute of America). “My parents were supportive and wanted me to do whatever I loved to do 40 hours a week,” LeFevre said. He worked long hours elbow to elbow with celebrated chef Charlie Trotter in Chicago. Then he was sent to Las Vegas to cook at Trotter’s new restaurant. From there, he jetted to Europe cooking in various kitchens. LeFevre settled down when he landed his esteemed position at The Water Grill. Now at MB Post, LeFevre said he feels “more at peace.”
The brunch menu at MB Post encourages guests to eat family style and share with each other; however the food is so goodthat I didn’t feel like sharing too much.
The best way to order for two people is to select two entrées, a sumthin’ sumthin’ and a few breads. Sumthin’s are listed on the menu as Nusske’s bacon, turkey sausage bacon, Weiser farm fingerling potatoes or fresh fruit.
His amped-up Eggs Benedict is unique, with arugula, La Quercia proscuitto and paoched egg resting on a savory bacon cheddar homemade biscuit and adorned with a mellow hollandaise sauce. I initially resisted ordering this dish served in a black cast iron skillet, because I had my eye on the healthier frittata with sprouting broccoli, white cheddar and piperade (a French dish with onions, green peppers and tomatoes). Our server, Angela, insisted I order the Benedict. It’s her favorite brunch item. Thank goodness I did.
The menu is filled with delicious breads and sweets, but I limited my order to only two items. The belly button poppy seed bagel with super soft almost melted cream cheese and fresh strawberry preserves was my favorite. LeFevre’s super sweet sticky buns with pecans and melted brown sugar are scrumptious.
LeFevre offers some interesting cocktails created by Jerry Garbus. The Pirate Ship Revenge has quince, maple and ginger mixed into Gosling’s black seal rum. Another is the Last Rites Sangria with pear, quince and hibiscus. The Coughlin’s Law would cure anything with its Belgian pilsner, tomato juice, dill, picante and quail egg served in a glass jam jar.
Wines by the glass come in 3 oz. and 6 oz. There are a few draught beers and a nice selection of bottled beers.
When our check arrived, it was inserted into a book titled: Chefs: Met and Liked. Inside are little messages from past guests. I eagerly opened the book to write a note about Chef LeFevre. It was hard to find an empty spot in the book. Pages were filled with accolades about the dishes and the chef.
With a fully satisfied belly, I walked off some calories by taking 150 steps to the Strand and then out to the Manhattan Beach Pier to the Roundhouse marine studies lab and aquarium. I was more at peace too.
On Feb. 24 at noon, Chef LeFevre will showcase the produce from Coastal Farms in Santa Paula while inviting his good friend and former colleague Chef Giuseppe Tentori (Boka, GT Fish & Oyster in Chicago) to help prepare a three-course meal of shareable small plates for $65 per person. An optional wine pairing is available for an extra $35.
Hours for dinner are Sun. through Thurs. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Brunch is Sat. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. $$. 1142 Manhattan Ave. (310)545-5405.