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A TASTE OF THE SOUTH BAY / Dining Spots in Your

September 17, 1993|MICHAEL KRIKORIAN

The South Bay dining scene has a new star: Brandon Reed, who last week opened Reed's in Manhattan Beach. After five meals at Reed's, I feel safe to say the restaurant should be considered among the elite establishments in the area.

Chef Reed's credentials include a training stint at famed chef Didier Oudill's restaurant Pain Ador et Fantaisie in southwest France, and the head chef position at both the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tenn., and the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Located on the site of the defunct Saint Estephe in the Manhattan Village Shopping Center, Reed's is a simply decorated, comfortable place. Headed by manager David Wolfe, a veteran of Patina, the knowledgeable and friendly serving staff smoothly presents the attractively prepared dishes.

One bite of my appetizer and I knew I was in for a treat. It was warm, smoked Scottish salmon sandwiched between two corn cakes and topped with a dill creme fraiche and a red bell pepper puree ($8). Usually, I am eager to share whatever I've ordered with my girlfriend, but this time, although I did offer her some of this superb appetizer, I did so begrudgingly. Another excellent starter is the sauteed scallops with potato basil cannelloni, which are large stuffed pasta tubes ($6).

An herb-crusted monkfish, sometimes called poor man's lobster, was moist and full-flavored. The fish came with ratatouille and sliced potatoes cooked with balsamic vinegar ($15).

The pork tenderloin ($14 for the large portion), served with garlic mashed potatoes, was tender, and the sliced beef ($14) came with a fine red pepper potato gratin.

I've had only two lunches here, but it will be hard to resist ordering again the swordfish sandwich ($10), served on grilled bread with rosemary mayonnaise and a minted couscous salad.

Among the desserts is a fine tart tatin (an upside-down apple tart), and a chocolate pecan torte ($4 each), which is a layer of crushed pecans topped with a slab of creamy fudge.

Reed's is at 2640 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach. (310) 546-3299. Open 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 5 : 30 to 10:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

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