A massive line snakes around the Broadway side of the Grand Central Market. Faces are fatigued with hunger as they sniff the bacon scented air, a vain attempt to consume airborne calories. Godspeed these souls, as they haven’t discovered what’s just a few yards behind them. It’s Bombo, the uber quick, broth based seafood and meat stand that instantly turns self respecting humans into bowl slurping fiends.
Opened by Chef Mark Peel, a rockstar in the white table cloth world, Bombo is a new concept that uses steamer kettles to extract flavor, marinate, and fully cook in under 5 minutes. It’s a big breakaway from his decades worth of fine dining experience, which include training under Wolfgang Puck at Spago, receiving of the James Beard Foundation award for Campanile; not to mention stints at Chez Panisse, Ma Maison, Michael’s, and cofounding La Brea Bread Bakery. The list goes on, and foodie panties drop with every name mentioned. “You have to reinvent yourself. It’s always risky but not doing it means you don’t ever grow and you don’t ever move forward,” says Chef Peel. From white linen to white plastic forks, Chef Peel is bringing exceptional food to the masses, a quiet dream he’s had since studying agricultural economics at UC Davis.
“I could spend a lot of time cooking for rich people, but how do we feed the other seven billion? I want to take the things I know, bring it to a lower price point and make it more accessible.” With his chef’s knife in his heart, he spent months perfecting dishes that use the day’s freshest seafood and meats paired with flavorful broths such as lobster, curry, vegan shiitake mushroom, or beef broth — all priced at $14 or less. Try the Steamed Mussels & Clams drenched in lobster broth and swimming with spicy pork sausage and roasted onions–take a moment for yourself, dig in, and don’t look up until you’ve slurped the bowl clean. This is a Michelin worthy meal for only eleven bucks. It’s a real treat to eat the food invented by a top chef, especially when you have a two-dollar-sign budget and 20 minutes to spare. At Bombo, you’ll hardly ever see a line thanks to the engineering of the six shiny kettles blasting flavor in and around a hefty filet of fish.
The next time you find yourself wandering the maze of Grand Central Market, stop by Bombo and experience the food of an LA legend. Roll up your sleeves and grab life by the bowls.
Written by Janica de Guzman
Photographed by Frank Maldonado