The Strand House: Manhattan Beach, CA
Colony Grill pizza: Stamford, CT

Fishing with Dynamite: Manhattan Beach, CA

Manhattan-Beach
Fishing with Dynamite (FWD) is a restaurant that I'd visit very week if I lived in the neighborhood. This bold proclamation is being made based on one visit.

How could I come to this conclusion from just one visit? Because everything was right at FWD. From the cocktails to the interesting room with 3 different seating options (bar, raw bar, tables) to the bottles of still and sparkling water to the warm service to the friendly hosts to the sun flowing in through the large windows to the wines from all around the globe to the fresh and delicious fish to the excellent oyster selection, it's all right. Did I mention those great desserts? 

I think I've said it all, so I guess I'll just post some pictures.

FWD-water

Each table gets a bottle of still and a bottle of sparkling water. I love this type of service, and I constantly wonder why all restaurants don't serve a bottle of still water at the very least.

FWD-cocktail

Every cocktail on the short and concise list looked interesting, and I landed on the Regalo de Dios cocktail, comprised of tequila, sour, strawberry, rhubarb and serrano. I noticed spicy margaritas were offered at several places during this trip to the Manhattan Beach area, and I have no problem with that. In fact I supported that. Many times.

The cocktail was executed well. With just enough spice, the sweet and sour flavors were in balance, yielding a cocktail with fruit flavors up front and a lingering, pleasant spice on the finish.  Served appropriately cold, with rocks over the top of the rim, garnished with fresh mint. And it was really, really pretty.

FWD-crabcake2

The crab cake, served over a mustard remoulade, was chock full of Maryland crab meat, and seared to crisp. An outstanding crab cake, and one of the best I can recall. The house-made pickle and cabbage slaw served along side were certainly not throwaways, offering an acidic and textural foil.

FWD

Tuna tartare, here, mixed with asian pear, furikake and topped with seaweed. The picture does little justice, but the three of us fought over this dish. Who needs the big chip it's served with: just fork it into your mouth. I should note that I'm a sucker for all things raw tuna, but there's simply no doubt this was a very interesting and successful application.

FWD-oysters

I was very impressed with the selection of oysters. I've had a few oysters in my life, but never from New Zealand as far as I can remember. We ordered 3 of each variety, which also included Canada and the US (yet not a west coast oyster in the bunch). The oysters were served with the liquor intact (correctly), and were nicely chilled. Not too warm, not too cold. A couple of sauces were served, but I'm a a simple bit-of-mignonette-kind-of-guy. I'd wait on line for this selection of oysters, and I don't wait on no stinkin' lines. 

FWD-fish-tacos

Mahi Mahi tacos on corn tortillas! They aren't on the menu now, but they should be. These turned out to be the best fish tacos of this trip to the LA area. 

Hamachi-fishing-with-dynamite

As good as everything else was, the hamachi in ponzu was the star. A pitch-perfect dish of artfully-plated and pristine fish.

We ordered two of the three desserts, and the server brought out the third as well, on the house. I'm not a dessert guy and can't speak too intelligently about them, but I know what is good, I know these were great. I liked the use of kaffir lime leaf in the Key Lime Pie. My guests couldn't stop talking about the Pretzel and Chocolate Bread Pudding (with salted iced cream). Oh damn, now that I think about it, I really really liked the Maple Pudding with bourbon. All fantastic, factually speaking.

FWD-ice-cream
FWD-ice-cream2
FWD-lime

I'm sure everyone around Manhattan Beach knows this, but Fishing with Dynamite is a gem. Anyone within driving distance is very fortunate indeed.

Fishing with Dynamite : 1148 Manhattan Ave : Manhattan Beach, CA : 310.893.6299


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