Let’s just get this out of the way: Fishing with Dynamite is dynamite!
And might I add, far and away my favorite of Los Angeles’ modern seafood shacks (Ahem, Son of a Gun and Connie & Ted’s). From its steps-from-the-ocean locale to Chef David LeFevre’s fantastic cooking, everything about this spot hits the mark.
Considering The Astronomer’s and my collective adoration of Chef LeFevre’s M.B. Post, it took us far too long to make our way to its sister restaurant. The airy, 35-seat seafood haven pays homage to the summers the chef spent on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, as well as to Southern California’s beach communities, according to the restaurant’s website.
Prior to making his mark on Manhattan Beach’s dining scene, Chef LeFevre spent seven years at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago and six years as Executive Chef of Water Grill in Downtown Los Angeles.
Most everyone digs into pristine seafood, minimally fussed and chilled over ice, to start. We shared the smallest of the composed platters, “The S.S. Minnow” ($45), which was comprised of four lovely oysters, two meaty clams, four butter-poached shrimp, six steamed mussels, and half a lobster.
It’s hard to pick favorites in a sea of winners, but the oysters—two Blue Pools, one Kumamoto, and one Northern Cross—were fabulous. The snappy shrimp were great too, with just a dab of cocktail sauce and freshly grated horseradish.
We also added on two Peruvian scallops ($2.75 each), adorned with grapefruit and pesto, for good measure. It was most definitely a good call.
An array of sauces was on hand to enhance our platter. A classic mignonette, cocktail sauce with and without fresh horseradish, ponzu, and pico de gallo for the oysters, and yuzu kosho mayonnaise, saffron aioli, and whole grain mustard remoulade for the shellfish.
The yuzu kosho mayonnaise and saffron aioli were my favorites.
Fishing with Dynamite’s savory menu is divided into two sections: Old School and New School. We sampled a slew of dishes from each category. First up, Old School!
The New England Clam Chowdah ($9) with Neuske’s bacon and Weiser Farm potatoes was creamy and dreamy. Thoughtful touches like the thinly sliced potatoes, shell-on clams, and house-made oyster crackers made this Old School dish something special.
The Maryland Blue Crab Cake with whole grain mustard remoulade ($16) was equally fetching, with its panko-Ritz Cracker coating and huge hunks of crab meat. The house-pickled Kirbie cucumbers kept all richness in check.
Carb-whores, the both of us, The Astronomer and I fell hard for “Chef David’s Mom’s Cape Cod Squash Rolls” ($5), which were served warm with the most luscious whipped rosemary butter. We downed all four even though we had ordered a ton of food.
And now, on to the New School dishes!
The generously sliced hamachi ($17), resting in a ponzu bath with avocado, red radish, serrano chilies, and shiso, had a Nobu-Peruvian flare that we quite liked.
Similarly fresh and bright were the “Nantucket Bay Scallops” ($18) with yuzu kosho, grapefruit, passion fruit, and Thai basil. The silky, supple raw scallops paired beautifully with the vibrant fruit.
The Astronomer insisted that we order the “Pretty Thai for a White Guy” ($13)—a monstrously flavorful sandwich with a pork and shrimp patty, kaffir lime, Thai chili, and fresh herbs. Shrimp chips were served on the side. The big, bold flavors here had us giving each other high-fives!
And because we can never resist ordering octopus when it’s on the menu… The grilled version here came with cranberry beans, date-tomato ragu, preserved lemon, and Kalamata olive tapenade ($19). Charred and tender, the octopus was cooked to perfection, while the Mediterranean-inflected accouterments were fantastically acidic.
Thinking of our health, always, we shared the Coleman Farm black kale ($9) with Parmesan, roasted garlic, chili flake, and lemon. Simply well done.
To finish, a duo of “After School” treats. The “Key Lime Pie” ($7), with its crumbly house-made graham cracker crust, tart kaffir lime filling, and torched meringue peaks, was perfect from top to bottom.
Hitting an equally splendid note was the “Pretzel and Chocolate Bread Pudding” with salted caramel sauce and house-made mascarpone ice cream ($9). Man, oh, man…
What more can I say? Get here.
Fishing with Dynamite
1148 Manhattan Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
One year ago: Maccheroni Republic – Los Angeles (Downtown)
Two years ago: Zankou Chicken – Pasadena
Three years ago: Yun Chuan Garden – Monterey Park
Four years ago: Pike Place Chowder – Seattle
Five years ago: Dean Sin World – Monterey Park
Six years ago: Vegetation Profile: Gac Fruit
Seven years ago: Osteria – Philadelphia