The Monster makes a trip out to Post and Beam in Baldwin Hills with great anticipation. As an investor (albeit a teensy-tiny, nearly microscopic one) in Govind Armstrong’s previous venture, Table 8, seeing where his cooking is headed in a relaxed, convivial atmosphere is long overdue.
The space has the sleek look of Houston’s meets nods to mid century modern design and is completely packed and unbelievably loud. Like rock concert loud. Good signs all.
Know that P+B does not take reservations, so a journey to this Baldwin Hills shopping center featuring a Sears, Forever 21 and Rave Cinemas could mean a long wait (especially on the weekends). Baldwin Hills has long been bereft of such eateries, instead being overrun by fast food and cheap eats and this is a destination for patrons both near and far. Be it inside, at the bar or on the lovely patio and herb garden there is a spot for most anyone to be comfortable.
The menu is divvied up into intros, hand stretched 11” pies, larger plates and small plates and it’s the appetizers and pizzas that catch The Monster’s attention.
Grilled octopus with garbanzo, preserved lemon and cracked olives is one call. The octopus is a bit chewy but with good flavor components (save those dreaded olives!). If there is one complaint with the dish it is while the flavors are good, they don’t always coalesce. Sometimes the dish is smoky, sometimes you get a bit of lemon, other bites all you taste is octopus.
Turkey sausage meatballs in a spicy wood roasted tomato sauce prove lovely with the right combination of earthy flavor and pungent sauce. It is a nice sized dish as well and perfect for sharing.
The mussel broth needs more kick for this Monster and the mussel shells break easily which proves annoying when the shells become part of the dish. Perhaps this is just an off night for this particular appetizer.
Each of the starters however are well priced and thought out and just a shade offbeing wonderful. Given the restaurant is still in its infancy these are issues that can and should be worked out.
The wait for our crushed tomato, local mozzarella, snipped basil, unfiltered olive oil pizza borders on the insane. A leisurely jaunt to the moon still might have left you a little time to check out the adjoining mall before the pizza arrived.
When the waiter finally comes it is to tell us the pizza didn’t look good the first time so they fired a new one. That’s most appreciated, just wish we knew why we felt like we were pariah for so long. One of our two waiters is a trainee so perhaps that explains it. Both they and the hostess are super nice so points for that despite the egregious wait.
The wait is worth it, the pizza shines with a delicious sauce and nicely charred crust. It is a simple pizza, a take on a Margherita pie that leaves The Monster hungry for more.
There’s no room (or time left) for dessert so it’s time to pay the bill and head on out. On the way the friendly security guard makes sure to ask how we enjoyed our meal and wish to see us again.
Given the friendly service, affordable prices for high quality food and skill of chef Govind Armstrong a return trip is definitely in the offing.
Why go? You love shopping at Sears.
Monster rating: 3/5 Monsters
3767 Santa Rosalia Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90008