David LeFevre has left the haute hassle behind for this beachy room of sun-bleached wood. He cuts a swath through genres and latitudes with the gusto of someone who’s clearly pleased to be at the stove. A cooked-down bell pepper Basque piperade bathes ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms. Vietnamese caramel pork jowl with green papaya salad shows that he can’t be contained. There’s plenty of wordplay on the menu (“Meat Me Later”), but no pun can do justice to his bacon-cheddar-buttermilk biscuits with maple butter.
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When David LeFevre left the Water Grill to launch M.B. Post, he may have traded downtown for Manhattan Beach and customers in wing tips for those in flip-flops, but he also liberated himself from a career of rigorous formality. At Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago he wouldn’t have been able to scrawl thoughts on a one-page menu as he does here, and his warm bacon-cheddar buttermilk biscuits certainly wouldn’t have garnered applause at Burgundy’s culinary temple La Côte d’Or, where he cooked early on. LeFevre brings a blazing stringency to the gastropub format in this former post office paneled with acres of reclaimed wood. He grills the squid to a pearly transparency, reinterpreting fish and chips with lightly battered halibut cheeks. Look over at the kitchen, and you just might spot LeFevre, broad shouldered and content amid the mounds of chili-spiked seared beans and the fusillade of pickles that fly out of the kitchen.