All you can eat buffets, burgers, pizza, prime rib specials and the early bird lobster special for $16.99 never quite ring my bell when I am at the shore – always a culinary disappointment. Nor do I think restaurants on the Ocean City boardwalk worth a second of my time considering until now. The well known Phillips restaurant family has offered up one of the original flagship restaurant for change to Chef Arturo Paz. The restaurant no longer called Phillips, but now carries the moniker of Bombora combines Chef Paz’s Latin background and ties in bright Asian flavors with a menu that offers small plates through a fully rounded entrée portion. There is still a salute to those items “Phillips” on the menu that guests have come to expect.
Bombora is the anchor restaurant in the Beach Plaza Hotel at 13th street and the boardwalk for breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner and late happy hour. The porch or should I say veranda offers views of the ocean and continual entertainment of folks walking the boardwalk. One can dine at tables with old sewing machine pedestals, flow back and forth on the rocking chairs or come into the newly refurbished dining room, lobby and lounge. Chef Paz, who studied architecture, was very involved with the refurbishing of the dining room as well as the lobby. They took the colors of the ocean view, blues and greys, new custom tables and carpeting, and a repaint of the chairs to white. Salvaged floor to ceiling stain glass panels recovered from the depths of Phillips storage are a focal point in the lobby-lounge along with an inviting fireplace. (see my slide show)
An invite to dine and share my experiences with readers was ongoing since Bombora’s opening this past spring but the husband and I don’t make the Ocean until just after Labor Day when it’s a bit quieter. Chef Paz says the restaurant remains open through October and will be shutting down for the season and more revitalization of the remaining hotel rooms.
It was a lovely night, not too hot – not too cool. Our decision was to dine inside at table right in front of the large ocean view picture window. I kicked off with a cocktail, one of two the waitress advised was the most popular, the Summer Garden: Svedka citron vodka, cucumber liqueur, lemon, mint which went down smooth and refreshing and without a real recognizable alcohol taste which is perfect for me.
The husband and I ordered from the small plates and salad menu. The husband went for the three Crab Cake Sliders with a tamarind tartar and the Seafood Chowder with nice chunks of salmon, grouper and potatoes – that and bread could fill you.
We continued with the Pulled Pork, Fig and Gorgonzola Flatbread which was high on the yummers chart, one of four flatbreads offered is definitely a come back dish. I can see the husband and me on the porch, happy hour with discounted drinks, ½ priced small plates and a couple flatbreads watching the world meander the boardwalk.
The vine ripe tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella stack was more than generous. The Thai green curry spiked tuna tartar was my least favorite dish. I have a preference for a brighter flavor profile, more acidity this didn’t hit my personal flavor profile….that is not to say that many others might really enjoy this dish. Portion size was more than generous, as with each dish we received.
We were pretty full by this time but we wanted to see a full entrée portion. Chef Paz suggested the Sour Orange Skirt Steak with confit fingerling potatoes, chimichurri, escabeche peppers and pickled onions and that definitely hit all the right notes. The Sour Orange Skirt Steak is available as a full entrée at $22 or without accoutrements and downsized portion of steak in a small plate for $10.
As full as we were we couldn’t turn down a slice of the Chesapeake’s most famous dessert, Smith Island Cake.
On many of our trips to the shore, we tend to drive all the way up to Rehoboth for simple, fresh fare – flatbreads and salads. It is nice to know there is another option in Ocean City proper, that I believe is fairly priced. Bombora is now on our list for a return visit next year.
Bombora Restaurant.Bar.Lounge – www.bomboraoc.com/
located in the Beach Plaza Hotel · 1301 Atlantic Avenue, Ocean City, MD 21842 · 410.289.9121
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