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Review: THE GORBALS

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Review: THE GORBALS

r
radman123 | | Aug 15, 2010 09:32 AM

The Gorbals has been on my list for some time...overall I liked it very much. Given the heavy nature of these meat based dishes and comparing it to my recent meal at Animal (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7197...), I think I appreciated this place slightly more...

Food: B+
Value: A-
Service: A (i had an excellent waiter - and looking around, the rest of staff seemed very happy to be there)...I was laughing to myself because when i walked in there was no immediate greeter and i was thinking of this past week's Top Chef Restaurant Wars. As you probably know, Ilan, the head chef was a former winner of the show. Who by the way answered the phone for my reservation earlier in day.
Total Price: $80 including tip
Would I go back?: Yep
Atmo: B+
Full Menu: http://thegorbals.squarespace.com/cur...

Now the restaurant design itself isn't the Four Seasons -- imagine more if your college had a "Restaurant club" and opened a student-serving restaurant in the basement of the student center. However, given the food has a eastern european flair -- this is the type of restaurant I could imagine walking into over there. It had a nice communal feeling inside.

Bacon-wrapped matzoh bals, mustard aioli $5 A-
I actually liked how this was executed. I almost didn't get the dish based on Yelp commenters -- but I figured what do they know?. And i was right because I was happy I got them - very moist inside with an almost chicken-soup quality seasoning. The bacon was crisp perfectly and the sauce was a horseradish aioli (not "musard" as listed on menu) that had a nice tartness to it. I would definitely order these again.

Potato Latkes, Smoked Applesauce $7 B-
I knew when we looked at the menu, the one thing my fiancee was going to want (and the one thing I didn't want to waste a dish on) was the Potato Latkes -- sure enough I was correct. I don't even like latkes as i find them a kind of boring way of eating potatoes. These were fine (grated potatoes) fried up with some scallions inside. It was served with a smoked apple sauce which was different.

Special: Pork Belly Sliders $12 B+
3 sliders in bread. The pork belly had a nice crispness to the outside - an element missing from most PB orders I have been getting lately. I am not going to lie, the pork belly cut was a bit fatty - as it always is -- and having to eat all three + knowing I was about to eat chicken skin and sweetbreads was a bit overwhelming. The sauce was similar to the mustard aioli served with the matzoh balls.

Lamb sweetbreads, peanuts, pickles $12 B+
I was about to get bone marrow but this caught my eye...I do enjoy some good sweetbreads. And i never had it from a lamb. Texture was the same as veal sweetbreads, maybe a tad smaller. The sweet accompaniments were perfect (i believe it was a marmalade and sliced pickles). Two comments however, given the sweetbreads creamy/spongy texture I would have liked the outside to been slightly more crunchy and I still can not figure out what the point was of the peanuts all over the plate.

Gribenes, lettuce, tomato (GLT) $8 A-
Given I am a big BLT fan + a big fried chicken fat fan = must get. I have to say it exceeded expectations as the chicken skin was different than I imagined...it was thin, sheet like and if you pick it up almost glass-like translucent. They must have stretched the skin before frying it up. The skin was everything you'd imagine it be. This would have been a "A" dish or higher, but the only thing I really don't understand is the decision to place the sandwich on un-toasted bread. I don't know about you but my BLTs come toasted so it was a bit of a shocker. If Ilan is reading this - I think some type of toasting is needed OR do the sandwich open faced to lose all that unnecessary bread. This is almost a winning dish.

Persian cucumbers, avocado, za'atar $7 B
My fiancee also ordered this for herself which I found to be pretty tasty. I never knew that za'atar was term used for mideastern spices including sesame seeds. It was good and I will make at homes. The skins of the cucumber were a bit tough, so I would consider peel that off.

Dessert: Sticky toffee pudding, ice cream, maldon salt $7 B- / C+
Unfortunately, their one desert choice didn't work for me. Sounds amazing right? I was hoping the pudding would have a more custardary type consistency to it - however it was more cake like. The topping of carmelized sugar was a bit burnt, and the ice cream was ok. For being the only dessert on the menu it could have been stronger and better executed.

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The Gorbals
501 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

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