New England style seafood has become all the rage in LA. Old stalwarts like Hungry Cat have been joined more recently by BP Oysterette, Littlefork and Connie and Ted’s. Well, The Monster went to Fishing with Dynamite last night and for his money it’s the best of the bunch.
From David LeFevre, the maestro behind MB Post which many believe is the finest dining in the South Bay, FWD is a jewel box of a restaurant two doors down. A few tables, a small oyster bar and four seats at the bar, this has proven a hard reservation both because of the size of the restaurant and the wonderful food on offer.
The playful room is inviting, where Connie and Ted’s goes for mass this plays for jovial intimacy. Everyone is welcoming, from the hostess to the servers and manager. Perhaps the remove from LA proper and beach adjacent dining is a bit more relaxed, a little more fun.
The menu reads like a greatest hits of pescatarian delight. Yea, there are a few nods to non-seafood eaters but you’ve come here to sample from the sea.
Of course there are oysters galore. There is a chowdah’ with Neuske’s bacon, Weiser farms potato and house made oyster crackers. You’ll want some Peruvian scallops and littleneck clams from the raw bar. The Maryland Blue Crab cake with in-house dill pickles and whole grain mustard remoulade is sure to be part of dinner.
Grilled octopus with white beans, date-tomato ragu, preserved lemon and kalamata olive tapenade sounds like a must as does the ubiquitous black miso cod with Japanese eggplant, adzuki beans, pickled ginger and Thai basil. On this night there is a new scallop dish that must be sampled.
Perhaps the only omission from the menu is a lobster roll. But there is plenty of lobster on offer and a nice assortment of chilled towers.
The Peruvian scallops, crab cake and the new scallop dish are out of this world. The Monster wishes he ordered two of each.
The octopus and black cod are great. The chowdah,’ which like at Connie and Ted’s is more a soup and less a hearty and thick rendition, is very good. Perhaps the only disappointment are the fries which are a tad overcooked.
Seeing key lime pie on the menu it is a must order for The Monster. This version features a graham cracker crust and kaffir lime meringue (so is it really key lime pie then?). It is tasty but not Joe’s Stone Crab great lacking that hugely tangy, tartness The Monster loves so much.
Will The Monster be back? Assuredly, and most likely in the very near future.
Why go? For the best scallop dish The Monster has had in years.
Monster rating: 4½/5 Monsters
1148 Manhattan Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266