1) Manhattan Beach: Chef David LeFevre's M.B. Post strikes SIV as bold and exciting; she gives it 2 1/2 stars. The former post office space has been converted into a "social restaurant" with communal tables, reclaimed wood and a menu of worldly charms. Postmarked "from Spain, Provence, Japan and Vietnam" LeFevre's menu is decidedly rustic. SIV is impressed with LeFevre's dedication: "The food — exotic by South Bay standards — comes out in waves from the open kitchen where LeFevre can be seen, attending to every plate issuing from the stove. He's there every night, even on a Monday, which shows some serious commitment to this new venture." She's enthusiastic about the bread section, platters of cheese and cured meats, and even the section named "eat your vegetables ? " On beets: "Everybody's got a beet salad on their menu, but this one is a smash hit." Getting into the meat of the matter, "The chef manages to avoid the clichés of beach food, though he does make excellent fish 'n' chips from halibut. He serves hiramasa sashimi with dots of yuzu kosho, avocado and crunchy puffed forbidden rice. Instead of the usual fried calamari, he has larger sword squid grilled over white oak and set on a bed of fat white marinated beans seasoned with a touch of lemon. It's like eating a squid steak." SIV likes the attentive service, the "excellent" wine list, and the reasonable prices. It's a wonder then where that other half a star went, as "the crowd at M.B. Post seems to be celebrating the fact that there's such a terrific new restaurant in town, one that can hold its own against anything in Southern California." [LAT]
2) Koreatown: Today's review by Mr. Gold involves one specific Korean specialty: "sam-gyeopsal, fresh, Korean-style pork belly, cut into thick slabs, cooked on a hot griddle, sliced into serving portions with sharp scissors and folded into a bit of vegetation with bean sauce and a sliver of raw garlic." Mmm. He focuses on the pork belly at Palsaik Samgyeopsal here. The best news is that samgyeopsal -- "...the name means three-layer pork, referring to the striations of meat and fat,"-- is a health food. Rich in Vitamin B, the carefully bred pigs that produce this pork belly are thought to infuse the lush fat with all sorts of healing properties that will cleanse the mind and body. Sounds like a win-win. Instructions on how to cook and eat your pork belly: "When the meat caramelizes on one side, you flip it over with a pair of tongs; when it is done, you snip it up and wrap crisp scraps in a leaf of the Korean herb ggaenip, use them to garnish a salad or roll them up in scarlet rounds of marinated daikon." Great taste and health benefits? We'll take it. [LAW]
The Elsewhere: LAW says Lota is for teenage girls, Food Marathon goes for burgers, Midtown Lunch tries La Cevicheria, and Quarry Girl has a sweet tooth at Sensitive Sweets.