BOMBO AT GRAND CENTRAL MARKET
Broth-Based Seafood Steeped In Flavor
From Chef Mark Peel, known for being Wolfgang Puck’s opening chef at Spago (also a mentee of Puck and Chef Alice Waters), comes Bombo, a broth-based seafood eatery where entrees are cooked in small, steel-jacketed steam kettles. Dishes focus largely on seafood but there are also meat and vegetable options too.
Bombo is a departure for Chef Peel, whose career has been centered in fine dining. Regarded as one of the founders of California cuisine, he founded, owned and was Executive Chef of Los Angeles’ landmark Campanile restaurant for two decades and then helmed The Tar Pit. Just before Campanile opened, Peel founded La Brea Bakery with Nancy Silverton.
At Bombo, dishes are ready to eat in less than five minutes and are cooked out in the open for all to see. There is also a daily selection of fresh seafood displayed on crushed ice in Bombo’s retail seafood case. By limiting the menu to a few flavor-packed, broth-based dishes, Chef Peel delivers items like Seared Yellowtail and Steamed Mussels quickly at an affordable price. Meat and vegetable items include Fried Chicken, Pork Pot Stickers, Braised Beef Short Rib, and Spicy Red and Green Cole Slaw. At Bombo, Chef Peel sources food from suppliers that are known for their sustainable practices.
"Bombo’s location at Grand Central Market allows me to eliminate the trappings of fine dining and get right to the food, interacting with our diners,” explained Peel. “Food doesn’t have to be expensive to be good.”
During our recent visit to Bombo for dinner, we worked our way through several of the tasty menu items. We started with the Chopped Salad with iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, marinated tofu, broccoli, Napa cabbage, chickpeas, pickled carrot and red onion and oregano vinaigrette. This is a fine salad and a good starter item, especially if you’re seeking out healthier items.
If you’re looking to just jump right into the heart of the meal, the Curried Shrimp with crushed peanuts, chili paste, roasted onion, Kabocha squash and potato on steamed rice with flax seed is good start. Personally, I found it a tad dry and wish it was saucier, but it’s hearty and they don’t skimp on the shrimp.
My outright favorite dish was the Braised Short Rib with dried mushrooms, mustard greens, oyster sauce, and roasted onion on egg pappardelle. It was so flavorful and the short rib was extremely tender. I can’t wait to try this one again.
Another winner was the Steamed Clams & Pork Sausage with roasted onion, chick peas, and lobster broth on egg pappardelle. The sausage was nice. The broth was rich and flavorful, but the sausage really stood out.
I didn’t find the Spicy Red and Green Cole Slaw spicy enough (you figure at has to live up to its name) and I thought the Seared Tofu, while light and rich, was a little bland. I would have liked more spice.
A great alternative if you’re looking for something more traditional is the Fried Chicken—think crisp fried thighs served with steak fries with spicy vinegar and Persian cucumber yogurt dressing. I loved the addition of the vinegar as it was great touch and really brought the flavors to life.
I’ve always been a fan for the hustle and bustle found at Grand Central Market, where you can find hearty and cheap tacos, pupusas, and other tasty and terrific ethnic fare. The addition of Bombo and Chef Peel really steps on the game for quick downtown eats. Welcome to the neighborhood Chef!
Bombo is located at Grand Central Market at 317 S. Broadway Street.
Photography courtesy of: The Detour Bistro Bar
Story by Jose Martinez