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.
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.