Over the course of the summer, we practically haunted Chef David LaFevre’s newest venture, Fishing with Dynamite, to take a first look, and then another look, and another. And I have to say, things are looking good. Mere blocks away from the swankier and more formal Manhattan Post, Fishing with Dynamite is a welcome addition to the growing Manhattan Beach dining scene. The small but open space is designed after an East coast seafood shack. Walls are whitewashed oak and large picture windows frame the surfers passing by. If your timing is right, you can even watch the sunset over the Pacific.
But even more interesting than what is happening outside is what is happening in the kitchen. Holy fuck. Can I say holy fuck in a restaurant review? Because really, even thesaurus.com does not have words to describe the delectable dishes that Fishing with Dynamite is producing.
At the center of the restaurant stands an oyster bar where two handsome men busily shuck away a variety of shellfish. They offer a rotating selection of six oysters, which included Mermaid Cove from PEI and Fat Bastard from Washington. You can also order chilled littleneck clams, Peruvian scallops, PEI Mussels, jumbo shrimp, lobster and Dungeness crab. If you are very lucky they will have sea urchin, or uni, on special. Overwhelmed by choices? Want it all? Then go for one of their gorgeously arranged platters offering a variety of shellfish, including the lobster.
The rest of the menu is divided into New School and Old School. My recommendations from the Old School are the milky New England Clam Chowdah with whole clams and slices of potato, Grilled asparagus properly peeled and lightly charred, and the Maryland Blue Crab Cake, which is basically crab held together by magic. Big chunks of scrumptuous, perfect crab meat. Whole grains of mustard float in the accompanying remoulade.
Under New School, Thai Shellfish and Coconut Soup features shrimp and mussels accompanied by rice noodles in a rich, complex coconut milk broth. The tuna tartare and hamachi also use Asian ingredients to their best advantage.
The desserts are sweet and decadent, and the bar offers a variety of specialty cocktails. It is worth a special trip to the South Bay even in winter to enjoy this comfy space where the East coast meets the Far East.