Ilan Hall’s The Gorbals – It’s Time.

You plan out your attack on new restaurants very carefully.  First, you give them a little while to outgrow any nagging or unpredictable issues inevitable at the very start.  Then you wait to hear any early buzz (good or bad) that comes through the foodie grapevine.  Still you wait.  Once the LA Times’ food writer S. Irene Vibila has eaten there and given her star of approval, though, you make the call.

You’ve been desperate to see just what the especially ironic bacon-wrapped matzo balls would taste like and to experience chef Ilan Hall’s other tasty eccentricities since his restaurant The Gorbals reopened at the end of last year.  You’ve been busy with other things – Hatfield’s reopening kind of took precedence, we get it.  But now that Ms. Virbila has been and feels that “it’s weird and fun and a little rough around the edges, but definitely from the heart… Everything has real flavor,” it’s time to make your way downtown.

Chef Hall is an alumnus of some of the culinary world’s top establishments: first the Culinary Institute of America, he’s worked for Tom Colicchio at Craft, for Mario Batali at Casa Mono in New York, and he’s a Top Chef winner.

The menu is an experience in and of itself – Persian Cucumbers, Butternut Squash Latkes, Sweet Oxtail Buns, and Manixchewitz-braised Pork Belly are just to scratch the surface.  The Scottish/Jewish theme presses on.  Sticky Toffee Pudding, anyone? Or how about Israeli Cous Cous with Pumpkin Ice Cream and Bacon Brittle?

The Gorbals is far from kosher, but it’s fun and eclectic – just the way a restaurant discovery should be.

The Gorbals is located at 501 S. Grand Ave. in Downtown LA (213) 488-3408