Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Gorbals

I have long wanted to visit The Gorbals. Named after the immigrant neighborhood in Glasgow, Scotland in which chef and owner Ilan Hall's father grew up, The Gorbals boasts an eclectic, oddball menu with Scottish, Jewish, Spanish and American influences that arouses one's curiosity.

After visiting The Manila Machine at last week's Art Walk, J and I decided to finally cross The Gorbals off our "to-eat" list and pay the Top Chef's restaurant a visit.

The Gorbals

The dining room features a stark, industrial design with white brick walls, cement floors and walnut-stained tables, chairs and benches. Whether an homage to its immigrant roots or an engagement with the downtown LA loft aesthetic, the design manages to create a simultaneously homey and sleek ambience.


Rarely ever am I intrigued by every item on the menu (with the exception of the seafood, of course), but, by keeping the menu small and focused, Chef Hall has created some appetizing-sounding "savories" and "sweets."

The Gorbals

For our sharing/snacking menu, J and I began with the bacon-wrapped matzoh balls ($5.00)--the dish almost singlehandedly responsible for our visit. Although J's family was aghast at the idea when we mentioned it, he (as a treif-lover) and I (as an honorary Jew) reveled in the irony of the dish.

Hall's version of the traditional dish maintained the essence of the original but took it to the next level; I enjoyed that the matzoh balls were still pillowy soft and loved the added crunch of the crispy bacon. Although horseradish often goes untouched on my Seder plate, the harsh flavors were mellowed by the mayo, resulting in a creamy, savory topping that perfectly finished the matzoh balls.

Bacon-Wrapped Matzoh Balls @ The Gorbals

We also ordered the burger with mayo and a fried egg ($14.00) which, unfortunately, did follow in the footsteps of its delicious predecessor. With too heavily dressed lettuce, it was difficult to taste either the mayo or the egg amidst the vinegary flavors, and the already soft bun quickly grew soggy.

Burger @ The Gorbals

I hope to visit The Gorbals again soon to sample the other Jewish-inspired dishes (hello, latkes!) and will be sure to go on an empty stomach next time.

The Gorbals
501 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 488-3408

The Gorbals on Urbanspoon


  1. I've been dying to try those bacon-wrapped matzoh balls! Glad they got a noms up! definitely going to need to make an artwalk sooner rather than later so I can hit the Gorbals up after!

  2. I dig this place! My first visit showed promise, and my second visit was great. I was glad to taste improvement!

  3. I hope to visit here one day, and try those bacon wrapped matzoh balls!

  4. Good to see that the menu has almost completely changed since my visit a couple months ago. Next time, go with a party of four, and run the gamut. ;)

  5. @Diana: Come to the next ArtWalk!

    @WeezerMonkey: I agree with you about the first time showing promise. Maybe I'll love my second trip?

    @KungFoodPanda: Ditto what I said to Diana :)

    @KevinEats: You're right. That's 100% the way to go. Two people just aren't enough!