As a Hawaii transplant, I often find myself trying to incorporate elements of the beach into my daily life—a vintage Hawaiian travel poster in my living room, a Matsumoto’s Shave Ice tote bag slung around my shoulder or a seashell bobby pin in my hair. Although California’s beaches are decidedly different (*sigh* colder and dirtier) than those in Hawaii, the sea and the vibe around it still signal relaxation and bring a smile to my face. These inclinations led me M.B. Post, located in Manhattan Beach.
OK, my beach-loving inclinations AND the promise of sticky buns. MB Post, co-owned and cheffed by Michelin-starred David LeFevre, was designed to reflect elements of the beach community in which it sits. Large windows yielding natural light and a view of the ocean, tables and booths made of reclaimed wood and exposed rafters lend a relaxed, welcoming ambiance to the space. Although the restaurant opened almost a year ago, brunch service—the reason for my visit—is newer, only about a month old. For that month, I ogled photos and dreamed of MB Post’s sticky buns and cheddar bacon biscuits and recently decided to visit with Justin, Tina and Patricia (of Boobs for Food) and Tina’s friend Carla to feed hungry bellies instead of just eyes.
Coughlin's Law: Red eye with Tito's, Belgian pilsner, tomato, dill, picante and quail egg ($12)
Old George: Salty Dog w/ chopin, grapefruit, basil and raspberry pepper jam ($12)
Mo-pho-jito: Mojito with starr, kaffir lime, mint, ginger and housemade coriander honey ($12)
As I was feeling a bit under the weather, I opted for coffee instead of booze ($4.50).
Our table got right down to business and began with the two dishes we craved most: the sticky buns and the bacon cheddar biscuits.
The Sticky Buns arrived in a piping hot cast iron skillet, which added a homey touch to the dish ($6). Topped with chopped pecans, the sticky buns were delightfully pillowy soft and soaked up additional sweetness and stickiness from the melted brown sugar and syrup pooled at the bottom of the skillet. These buns totally lived up to our expectations.
Next up were the Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits, served with maple butter ($5). The incredibly moist, flaky biscuits provided the porky and cheesy flavors they promised but without being overpowering or gimmicky. This was one well-executed breakfast biscuit—with or without the fluffy maple butter.
We next received a Polito Farms Citrus Salad, courtesy of the kitchen, in which a medley of grapefruit, blood oranges, cara cara navels and pomegranate sat in half a grapefruit (regularly $10). The salad infused our morning with some cool, crisp citrus tang.
We ventured back to breakfast sweets with an order of French Toast ($12). M.B.’s version of the breakfast staple was topped with star anise-macerated pears and chestnut honey and stuffed with quince and ricotta. Although the dish read well on the page, our French toast arrived slightly blackened, and the quince was unable to brighten the ricotta, muddling the toast’s otherwise sweet flavors.
Our table fared better with the Nueske’s Bacon, which arrived next ($8). What’s not to love about thick, glistening strips of bacon seasoned with rosemary, brown sugar and chili? These sweet porky bites with just a hint of a kick were a hit with all.
The Chimichanga, colorfully stuffed with scrambled eggs, chorizo-spiced pork, pepperjack cheese, yams and “Jimmy’s mom’s salsa verde” beckoned us first ($13). The chewy deep-fried tortilla held up well despite the hefty fillings, and the salsa verde and sour cream provided just the right amount of moisture the chimichanga needed. Verdict: the only thing that makes a breakfast burrito tastier is deep-frying it.
Although it was served sans waffles, we couldn’t resist ordering the Truffle Honey-Laced Fried Chicken with Kholrabi Slaw ($15). The combination of the chicken’s crispy skin and tender, juicy meat provided just what we’d hoped for, but the truffle honey flavors could have benefitted from being kicked up a notch. As pure fried chicken, the dish was a winner; as truffle honey-laced fried chicken, it left me wanting more.
After polishing off the fried chicken, our table of five had worked its way through everything we ordered, and we began congratulating ourselves on reaching a happy—not uncomfortable—level of fullness. We had ordered and eaten well but not gone overboard… The kitchen, however, had other ideas for us. The front of the house noted that we had not originally ordered any egg dishes and promptly placed three of them in front of us. We required no arm-twisting to dig in, especially since all three dishes were ones we had considered ordering.
The Poached Egg perched atop polenta was beautiful in its simplicity—the yellow and white set against the vibrant green of the asparagus topped with bianco sardo (an Italian sheep’s milk) cheese ($14).
Once we cracked the yolk, the dish became even comelier and more delicious.
In the Frittata, fluffy baked eggs mixed with Weiser Farm potatoes, sprouting broccoli, white cheddar and piperade in a deep cast-iron dish ($14). The piperade and fresh produce added refinement to this classic, hearty dish, which I mentally filed away as a (classy) hangover cure.
Little did we know that the pièce de résistance of our brunch would be not our much-beloved sticky buns but the Eggs Benedict ($13). Here, Chef LeFevre has improved upon the traditional eggs benedict by swapping a standard English muffin and ham for his cheddar bacon biscuits and la quercia prosciutto and arugula. The forkfuls holding egg, hollandaise, arugula, prosciutto and biscuit with its blend of flavors and textures were nothing short of heavenly. To say that we licked this skillet clean is no exaggeration.
All of our brunch dishes were composed and refined while maintaining a rustic and homey charm. Between the food, the setting and the attentive service, I’m already planning my next trip! Special thanks to SinoSoul for the help with our reservation!
1142 Manhattan Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266