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The Gorbals Los Angeles

 501 S Spring St
Los Angeles, 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.

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