If you go fishing with dynamite, you're bound to get lucky. One diner at chef-owner David LeFevre's new Manhattan Beach seafood restaurant, Fishing With Dynamite, shucked into fortune on opening night when he found a tiny pearl in his clam.
The packed 34-seat restaurant (including bar seating) had a party-like atmosphere. Enthusiastic hostesses danced and sang along to pop classics such as Madonna and Michael Jackson to entertain guests while they waited for a seat.
LeFevre greeted each guest twice — with a handwritten note in the menu thanking guests for supporting day one and with a tableside greeting during service. It was hard not to feel comfortable in the East-Coast-meets-West-Coast-themed beach shack, with its white planked walls, nautical décor and casual vibe.
A staffed raw bar is a focal point of the cozy space. Domestic shellfish on ice included six varieties of oysters, littleneck clams, Peruvian scallops and sea urchin.
The menu focuses on both East Coast tradition and West Coast innovation. Classic offerings include poached lobster with Pernod butter sauce, New England clam chowder made with Neuske's bacon, and sautéed loup de mer served with a red wine reduction. Simple, modern dishes include tuna tartare topped with kimchi furikake, steelhead trout served with lemongrass yogurt and crispy capers, and grilled octopus with a date-tomato ragu and Kalamata olive tapenade.
"What I like about their food is that even the smells are pleasing," a diner said as she closed in on the Thai coconut soup scented with kaffir lime leaf.
Fishing With Dynamite, 1148 Manhattan Ave. Manhattan Beach; (310) 893-6299, www.eatfwd.com.