Mark Peel spent much of his career cooking in L.A.'s temples of fine dining, but in the past couple of years he began exploring high-quality fast casual, as all the young upstarts are doing with their trucks and pop-ups. In 2015, Peel opened Bombo Foods, a seafood-stew concept, in Grand Central Market. On Friday he switched concepts, which is relatively easy when you're a stall with low-ish overhead, rather than an full-blown restaurant. Looks like he and the youths were on to something.
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The new concept, called Prawn, still focuses on seafood but with an expanded menu. New items include salads, fish and chips, and a number of sandwiches, such as a Thai lobster roll and fried shrimp and oysters. The "shrimp butter boil" with wild shrimp, potatoes, corn, bacon and pickled onion sounds especially delightful — but I'm not forgiving him for making a soup with a lobster broth and calling it "Seattle fish stew." I was raised in Seattle, and up there we barely know what lobsters are. (We eat Dungeness crab by the ton, though.)
Much like the also newly opened Frankland's Crab & Co., this small spot already has big plans, with other locations in the works. Maybe L.A. will finally become a seafood town this year.
317 S. Broadway, downtown; prawncoastal.com.