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The Gorbals Los Angeles

 501 S Spring St
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.

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Favorite Food:
sushi, filipino food, ice cream, chocolate