Occasionally when I try out a restaurant for the first time, it is not surprising to find that friends and family have already staked the place out as one of their personal favorites. This happened this past week when the dine-around bunch and I stopped in at Bomba’s Fresh Italian over in Jonesborough for our evening meal.
Greeting the Dieter and Carnivore, I gave a cursory glance round the restaurant and spotted our new county attorney at a table nearby. As we were seated, my dining partner discovered a relative of hers seated at the table next to us. Ah, the comfortable pleasures of living in Jonesborough.
Proprietors Breelyn and Alex Bomba have built on their success with Jonesborough’s Main Street Café by setting set up shop next door to the Justice Center on U.S. Highway 11E, and providing the residents of Tennessee’s Oldest Town with the freshest locally grown ingredients for the best in authentic Italian cuisine.
While our server Bridgett fetched our drinks, the Carnivore passed us a pre-ordered plate of tender Calamari Fritta ($8) to sample while we decided on what we were having. The Dieter chose the Tortellini Vodka ($14) with a salad of field greens, while the Carnivore got all veggie-conscious by ordering the Eggplant Parmesan ($14) with a Caesar salad.
My dining partner opted for Chicken Parmesan and a Caesar salad, ($13). I chose an appetizer of marinated olives ($5) with grilled ciabatta bread. Seeing a Bomba Burger ($9) served to another patron, I ordered one with a side order of garlic herb fries and a Caesar salad.
As we were finishing the Calamari Fritta, my olives appetizer arrived, swimming in a (balsamic?) marinade and plated with a generous stack of crispyhot ciabatta bread. An offer to share my appetizer received a polite “No, thank you” to sharing the olives, but a “Yes, please” on the ciabatta bread.
A note on the salad course: Bomba’s prepares the Caesar salads correctly with rubbed garlic, crispy romaine lettuce, fresh-prepared dressing, aged Parmesan cheese and an anchovy garnish. The field greens salad is also excellent, especially when topped with the house’s sun-dried tomato vinaigrette.
The entrees arrived just as we were finishing our salads. The Dieter’s Tortellini was stuffed with a savory sausage mix and tossed with roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts in a creamy vodka tomato sauce. My dining partner’s Chicken Parmesan was pan-fried, baked, then served on a bed of fettucini and sauced with a homemade red sauce made so rich from slow-simmering you could taste the love in it.
My Bomba Burger arrived plated up with a generous portion of hand-cut garlicky herbed fries. Area burger and steak joints, you are on notice: Bomba’s makes the best hamburger in the Tri-Cities. Hand-formed from “just lean enough” prime beef, the Bomba Burger is grilled to perfection and properly served with sliced purple onions, aged provolone cheese, a big section of roasted red pepper and a dollop of pesto mayonnaise. Adding the bun was (almost) unnecessary. The Burger was so good I ate all of it as is, no additional mustard, ketchup or fixin’s needed.
Then there’s the Carnivore’s Eggplant Parmesan. Though prepared in a manner similar to my dining partner’s chicken dish, chef Alex took extra pains with the eggplant, pan-frying it to give the outside of it just the right amount of crunch before baking it topped with aged mozzarella and more of the excellent homemade red sauce. Our Carnivore was enjoying his meal with such gusto I figured he’d gone vegetarian on us, and said so. The arch look I got in return proved me wrong.
For our closer, Bridgett brought us Alex’s scratch-made chocolate mousse dessert with four spoons: just heavenly and the best way to finish the meal.
Bomba’s offers a select grouping of excellent wines to go with your meal, and will provide corkage if you decide to bring a selection from your own cellar.
In February, Bomba’s is partnering with the Jonesborough Repertory Theater to present a “Dinner and a Show” event. Available over two successive weekends and in two different package prices, the event features a dinner for two at Bomba’s followed by reserved seating for the Rep’s production of “A Grand Night for Singing.” More information on “Dinner and a Show” is available a 753-1010.
Bomba’s is a welcome addition to the Jonesborough restaurant scene, and will definitely be hosting a return engagement starring the dine-around bunch.
125 East Jackson Blvd. Jonesborough 913-4685 Casual Dining Tue-Fri 11 a.m.- 9 p.m Sat 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Sun 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Lunch only) Available on Facebook Credit cards accepted