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 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."
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.
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.
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.
501 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013