501 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
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The Gorbals Los Angeles

Neighborhoods: Downtown
Cuisine: Scottish, Jewish, Vegan

The Gorbals Los Angeles is a Scottish, Jewish, and Vegan restaurant where most Menuism users came for fun with friends, paid between $25 and $50, and tipped more than 18%.

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Gayot
Rating:
13 / 20
Price:
$$$$$
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ca_ccarr

 Northridge, CA
 

Eclectic place, great service, interesting menu

This was a very cool restaurant. Very austere with a cool vibe (it might sound trite but that’s really what it was) but it very much fits the locale and the patrons. Plain furniture, walls, a bar to sit at to watch the staff cook—great entertainment there.

The food was very good. The chef, Ilan Hall, winner of year 2 of Bravo’s Top Chef is of Scottish and Jewish descent (the name is derived from that area in Edinburgh) and his menu reflects that. Appetizers were a persian cucumber salad with za’atar (?) and sesame which was out of this world. I could have eaten bowls of it. Also had bacon wrapped matzoh balls with horseradish mayonnaise. Bacon too salty but it offset the blandness of the matzoh—eh.

Second course was octopus, gizzards and lemon. Very interesting dish—the addition of the citrusy small bits of lemon went well with the octopus (which was a little overdone perhaps). I like gizzards so the mix to me was very different. Potato latkes with smoked apple sauce. Wow—ok it was just a potato latke but it was very hot when it came out, the applesauce was wonderful and one of my dining companions and I scarfed them down with smiles on our face!

Main course was either lamb sweetbreads with green bean chutney or Confit pork belly, clapshot and onion pickles. Clapshot? Wasn’t that a movie with Paul Newman? Actually it’s mashed potatoes and turnips. Nice flavor with goofy name. The pork belly was a very large piece cooked to perfection with a nice crispy fatty top and moist tender pork underneath. I’d never eaten sweetbreads before so I have little to compare it too. Not the most flavorful thing.

Finally, for dessert was sticky toffee pudding, ice cream and maldon salt or oat kugel and whiskey whipped cream. Sticky toffee pudding sounds right up my alley and it was very good. The oat kugel was a great texture and nice flavor but of the different pieces we got one was an corner (pan) piece and it was very dry. The middle one was perfect. The whiskey cream? Not my thing.

Couple downsides I would say were the bathrooms—upstairs in an old building under renovation. They were scary. Also, the music in the restaurant was fine but too loud for dinner conversation unfortunately.

The service was excellent, Ilan came out and took pictures with us and it was a very nice evening. I would definitely go back!

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pleasurepalate

 Los Angeles, CA
 

Scottish-Jewish Fusion Worth Checking Out!

Last month, as part of a Menuism sponsorship, 3 lucky members from my Meetup Dining Group, Pleasure Palate, got to join me for a free Dine LA dining experience at Gorbals. Owned by Top Chef Season 2 Winner, Ilan Hall, Gorbals is known for combining Jewish and Scottish food sensibilities. For those who you have never been to Gorbals before, you should know that it’s inside the historic Alexandria Hotel, so don’t look for it streetside.

We ordered a total of 8 dishes that we shared family-style and it all started with the Bacon-Wrapped Matzoh Balls and Horseradish Mayonnaise, one of three different appetizers. The matzoh ball was really more for texture than anything else since the bacon overpowered it flavor-wise, but the horseradish added a nice little bite that was appealing.

The Persian Cucumbers, Za’atar and Sesame, which was the second appetizer to arrive, was actually a surprise hit. With the cool crunch of the cucumbers and the herby freshness of seasoning, this dish was very refreshing to the palate.

Rounding up our trio of appetizers was the Potato Latkes with Smoked Applesauce. In all honesty, this wasn’t a memorable dish for me. I remembered that it I liked it at the time and that it had a nice light crispness to it, but nothing else really stood out.

On to our entrees and the first of the lot was the Octopus, Gizzards and Lemon. There were mixed feelings about this particular dish. I’m not into gizzards, so I only ate the octopus. I enjoyed its tenderness and the char of the grilled skin while a couple of other people in my party preferred their octopus a little more chewy.

Unfortunately, I can’t speak about the Lamb Sweetbreads and Green Bean Chutney, which was second to arrive since I’m not a fan of sweetbreads, so didn’t partake. I didn’t necessarily hear any ooohs and ahhhs from the group, so I have no idea whether it was liked or not.

Our last entree was the Confit Pork Belly, Clapshot (Mashed Potato and Parsnip)and Onion Pickles. I really enjoyed the pork which was juicy and had some good flavor; however, the onion pickles really bothered me. There was just a strange taste to them that I couldn’t identify and that I just didn’t like. Thankfully, it wasn’t difficult to just push them to the side and just concentrate on the pork.

It’s dessert time and we shared an Oat Kugel and Whiskey Whipped Cream and a Sticky Toffee Pudding, Ice Cream and Maldon Salt. When it came to the Oat Kugel, we were served two portions. One was a thicker slice and the other was a thinner slice. The thicker slice was really dry and quite flavorless and I wasn’t a fan of the whiskey whipped cream either. I would have entirely dismissed it, if I hadn’t take a bite of the thinner kugel. That thinner kugel was a vast improvement. I can’t remember what was in it, but it was moist and definitely had nice flaky texture.

The Sticky Toffee Pudding was definitely the finale of the evening with a cake that was moist and I enjoyed the counterbalance of the maldon salt agains the sweetness of the toffee. Our group was sharing 2 of these desserts, but I could have easily eaten one of my own easily and without guilt.

In summary, the meal at Gorbals definitely had its ups and down. It wasn’t the best meal I’ve ever had, but it was interesting to me how certain ingredients were brought together to form a particular dish. Interesting enough that I would go back and explore more of Chef Hall’s menu and if nothing else, hopefully, the Sticky Toffee Pudding would be waiting at the end of the meal.

Confit Pork Belly, Clapshot (Mashed Potato and Parsnip)and Onion Pickles at The Gorbals Los Angeles

Confit Pork Belly, Clapshot (Mashed Potato and Parsnip)and Onion Pickles

I really enjoyed the pork which was juicy and had some good flavor; however, the onion pickles really bothered me. There was just a strange taste to them that I couldn’t identify and that I just didn’t like. Thankfully, it wasn’t difficult to just push them to the side and just concentrate on the pork.

Oat Kugel and Whiskey Whipped Cream at The Gorbals Los Angeles

Oat Kugel and Whiskey Whipped Cream

When it came to the Oat Kugel, we were served two portions. One was a thicker slice and the other was a thinner slice. The thicker slice was really dry and quite flavorless and I wasn’t a fan of the whiskey whipped cream either. I would have entirely dismissed it, if I hadn’t take a bite of the thinner kugel. That thinner kugel was a vast improvement. I can’t remember what was in it, but it was moist and definitely had nice flaky texture.

Sticky Toffee Pudding, Ginger Ice Cream and Maldon Salt at The Gorbals Los Angeles

Sticky Toffee Pudding, Ginger Ice Cream and Maldon Salt

The Sticky Toffee Pudding was definitely the finale of the evening with a cake that was moist and I enjoyed the counterbalance of the maldon salt agains the sweetness of the toffee.

Bacon-Wrapped Matzoh Balls and Horseradish Mayonnaise at The Gorbals Los Angeles

Bacon-Wrapped Matzoh Balls and Horseradish Mayonnaise

The matzoh was really more for texture than anything else since the bacon overpowered it flavor-wise, but the horseradish added a nice little bite that was appealing.

Persian Cucumbers, Za'atar and Sesame at The Gorbals Los Angeles

Persian Cucumbers, Za'atar and Sesame

With the cool crunch of the cucumbers and the herby freshness of seasoning, this dish was very refreshing to the palate.

Octopus, Gizzards and Lemon at The Gorbals Los Angeles

Octopus, Gizzards and Lemon

There were mixed feelings about this particular dish. I’m not into gizzards, so I only ate the octopus. I enjoyed its tenderness and the char of the grilled skin while a couple of other people in my party preferred their octopus a little more chewy.

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aliciabrandt

 Los Angeles, CA
 

The Gorbals

Loud, Fun, Reasonably priced.
We went during Art Walk, so CRAZY Busy. We had a reservation and were seated ONTIME> Staff was knowledgeable and helpful.
Food, small plates, so order different things and enjoy. My only issue, the food was prepared differently each time. So, if you ordered a 3 of the small plates, they could all be cooked differently.
Try the crispy broccoli, marrow bone and fried matzoh balls

Bacon-Wrapped Matzoh Balls and Horseradish Mayonnaise at The Gorbals Los Angeles

Bacon-Wrapped Matzoh Balls and Horseradish Mayonnaise

unexpectedly delightful. Light and crispy.

Ching photo

Ching

 Santa Monica, CA
 

Inglorious Basterdization of traditional Jewish Delights

I got to finally meet and dine with THE Abby A. of Pleasure Palates infamy http://www.meetup.com/… and a few of her friends / event organizers a few weeks ago at The Gorbals. In true Abby style, we ordered one of everything on the (modified for us) DineLA set menu to share.

TIP: Free valet parking in the Alexandria Hotel that you access from Spring Street. The Gorbals is housed inside.

NOTE: Portions are small, so order many dishes to fill up.

WE ORDERED: (For 5 peeps, bill was $44 per person incl tax & tip. Drinks not included.)

Appetizers
- Persian cucumbers, za’atar and sesame – 5 out of 5 stars
- Bacon Wrapped Matzoh Balls with Horseradish Aioli – 4 out of 5 stars

Entrees
- Octopus with Gizzard and Lemon – 0 out of 5 stars
- Potato Latkes with smoked apple sauce – 3 out of 5 stars
- Confit Pork Belly, clapshot, onion pickles – 3 out of 5 stars
- Lamb sweetbreads, green beat chutney – 2 out of 5 stars

Desserts
- Sticky toffee pudding, ice cream, maldon salt – 5 out of 5 stars
- Oat Kugel, whiskey whipped cream – 2 out of 5 stars


Need to preface that I prefer savory foods and am not usually a fan of any cuisine from the British Isles. This, folks, is Jewish Scottish fare.

PERSIAN CUCUMBER SALAD – This one was my FAVORITE because it was refreshingly crunchy and well seasoned with the bits of the sesame herb toppings and garbanzo beans.

BACON WRAPPED MATZOH BALLS – lol, Ilan Hall, the Top Chef Season 2 winner who owns and creates all the dishes, must have been channeling his best Tarantino by creating his culinary equivalent to Inglorious Basterds with this, haha, so NOT kosher delight. The balls were freshly cooked so they were very hot to handle, yet so very light. The thin pieces of cripsy bacon was just the naughty compliment to give the balls flavor without weighing it down with too much texture. However, the horse radish sauce was just ok. When I think of horse radish, I expect nostril clearing oomph! Here, it was unimpressive and I practically forgot about it as I was grabbing for my share of the balls.

OCTOPUS WITH GIZZARDS – I took 1-2 small bites of this dish and pushed it away from me. The gizzards were unflavored and thus uninteresting “gamey” balls whereas the octopus were too rubbery, chewy and tough. The lemon was apparently unevenly distributed, and when I did find parts of this dish that DID have lemon? Oh my! It had a very rich and almost butterfied taste. But the lemon simply wasn’t enough to make up for the toughness of the octopus.

POTATO LATKES WITH SMOKED APPLE SAUCE – Yum, perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, but the “smoky” sauce didn’t wow me. I like just plain ole apple sauce from the jar to provide a crisp cold simple contrast to the crispiness and textured weight of potato latkes, but what the hell do I know about Jewish food?

CONFIT PORK BELLY, CLAPSHOT, ONION PICKLES – Here’s some Scottish and kosher bastardized fusion at its best!! Haha, clapshot is mashed potatoes and turnips from Scotland. The only thing I liked about this was the onion pickles which was a yummy combination of sweet and pickled. The pork belly itself was impressive because it was very moist and had fatty consistency, esp the skin.

LAMB SWEETBREADS, GREEN BEAT CHUTNEY – Just so so because it was too gamey with no flavor.

STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING, ICE CREAM, MALDON SALT – Damn, this was REALLY REALLY GOOD! The cake portion was perfectly moist and sticky, great flavor, loved the salty contrast. Truly the BEST I’ve ever had.

OAT KUGEL, WHISKEY WHIPPED CREAM – Really enjoyed the whiskey flavor, and oh, yah, there was the kugel that was sitting right next to it which had a dried out pudding consistency to it that I didn’t quite like. Tasted pre-packaged to me rather than a freshly baked pastry.


Location is a bit wonky for me, a girl from the sheltered world of SGV cul-de-sacs.

- The Alexandria Hotel is really divey, inside and out.

- Even though there was free valet service, I felt really uneasy leaving my car with the attendant. It was divey, and he definitely was overwhelmed as the only person working.

- OMG, the foyer downstairs for the elevator is full of sketchy “downtown characters.” Freaked me out, and yes, I waited many times so that I could ride the elevator alone to the lobby.

- The bathroom, if you dine at Gorbals, is located upstairs, and outside the restaurant. Hmm, just really uncomfortable walking up a flight of stairs and into an empty large industrial style bathroom where echos were my only companion.

Overall, Ilan’s The Gorbals is definitely a quirky culinary experience with lots of unconventional and unique ingredient combinations. He’s like a chef that’s in on his own joke, except I’m one patron who’s not laughing along at this intended 4 star caliber restaurant.

Bacon-Wrapped Matzoh Balls and Horseradish Mayonnaise at The Gorbals Los Angeles

Bacon-Wrapped Matzoh Balls and Horseradish Mayonnaise

BACON WRAPPED MATZOH BALLS – lol, Ilan Hall, the Top Chef Season 2 winner who owns and creates all the dishes, must have been channeling his best Tarantino by creating his culinary equivalent to Inglorious Basterds with this, haha, so NOT kosher delight. The balls were freshly cooked so they were very hot to handle, yet so very light. The thin pieces of cripsy bacon was just the naughty compliment to give the balls flavor without weighing it down with too much texture. However, the horse radish sauce was just ok. When I think of horse radish, I expect nostril clearing oomph! Here, it was unimpressive and I practically forgot about it as I was grabbing for my share of the balls.

PaulaF photo

PaulaF

 Los Angeles, CA
 

A bit inconsistent but enjoyable experience

Went here on a couple of weeks ago, on the last day of the Jan-Feb dineLA. It was a pretty generous dineLA deal – a selection of three savory items plus a dessert! I went with a bunch of friends, and between all of us, we wound up ordering and sharing all the options on the dineLA menu:

- Bacon wrapped matzo balls w. fresh horseradish sauce: We started our meal with these, and they were yummy. I had thought that the bacon might overwhelm the matzo balls, but the balance was just right. The horseradish sauce was tasty, but interestingly, it wasn’t particularly spicy. I would’ve liked it to have more of a kick, but it was still an enjoyable dish overall. (I thought they looked a bit phallic, but maybe that’s just me…)

- Potato latkes w. smoked apple sauce: These were very good. I’ve had latkes before with apple sauce, but usually it was just some random apple sauce that felt too sweet in combination with the latkes. Not so here. The light smokiness in the apple sauce allowed it to balance the savory saltiness of the latkes. I also like how the latkes were crisp on the outside but soft and moist inside.

- Persian cucumbers w. fried garbanzo beans: Surprisingly, this was everyone’s favorite. The Persian cucumbers provided a sweet, refreshing crunch and paired well with the earthiness of the the fried garbanzos. Overall, it had an great balance of textures and flavor combinations.

- Octopus chicken gizzards w. lemon: I liked this one , although I do wish the octopus had been more tender. It was a bit too chewy. However, the char on the outside of the oyster imparted a yummy smokiness and paired well with the lemon. The chicken gizzards were pretty good too. I find that they sometimes get a bit tough, but these were quite tender.

- Fried lamb sweetbreads w. french fries and gravy: I’ve had sweetbreads a couple of times before, and thought it was delicious. However, I’m generally sort of hit and miss with lamb, as I usually find it too gamey, and that’s how it was in this case. That said, the sweetbreads had a nice, juicy consistency. The fries were good, especially with the rich gravy, although nothing earth shattering.

- Pork belly confit w. clapshot and pickled julienned relish: Very moist and nice fattiness to the pork belly without being overbearingly rich. Good overall, but I’ve had better pork belly. I actually liked the combination of the veggie relish with the clapshot (mixture of mashed potatoes and turnips) better than the pork belly itself.

- Kugel bread pudding w. whiskey cream: Inconsistent. One of the servings we got was a thick slab that was way too dry. Even the whipped whiskey cream didn’t help. None of us liked it (and didn’t finish it). The other serving that arrived to our table was thinner and more moist. That one was better, but this dessert still didn’t do it for me. I also didn’t like the whiskey cream because the whiskey flavor and smell was way too powerful. If I’m going to taste that much whiskey, I’d rather have it in a shot glass!

- Sticky toffee pudding cake w. sea salt and ginger ice cream: Everyone else seemed to like this one a lot, but I wasn’t a fan. It was too…molasses-y for me? The ginger ice cream was tasty, but not enough for me to order this dish again.

On another note, I was weirded out by the fact that they didn’t have their own restrooms and I I had to exit the restaurant and go up the stairs to this random hallway bathroom. However, the service was great – Chris, our waiter, was very friendly and happy to answer our many questions. So, my assessment is that the Chef Ilan Hall is still working on perfecting his menu and restaurant management, given that there were some highs and lows with the food. So, while the Gorbals isn’t a place I’d go running back to, it’s a fun, lighthearted menu and environment, and I think that an adventurous eater who enjoys quirky twists on dishes will enjoy their meal and overall experience.

Tags
Scottish Jewish Takeout
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Hours
Mon-Wed 06:00PM - 12:00AM (Dinner)
Thu-Sat 06:00PM - 02:00AM (Dinner)
Mon-Fri 11:00AM - 03:00PM (Lunch)
Sun 11:00AM - 03:00PM (Sunday Brunch)
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The Gorbals Los Angeles  Restaurant Reviews

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The Gorbals Los Angeles is located near the cities of Civic Center Little Tokyo, Sanford, Dockweiler, Windsor Hills, and August F Haw.
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