This is an LA eatery, but I thought it might be interesting to those of you elsewhere who watch Top Chef. Ilan Hall won the second season and he opened The Gorbals in downtown LA. It is in a Funky space with a capital funk. In the lobby of a residential hotel. The hotel has the trappings to be something swanky-marble floors, high ceilings- if redevelopment every makes it to 5th and Spring, but for now it’s still an honest to goodness residential hotel.
I had set this up to be my dinner clubs visit for the month with my co-founder John. I am a big believer in institutionalizing rituals or else you never see anyone. I have been seeing this people for the better part of 6 years and we love getting together. I took most of ’09 off for various (or obvious) reasons, but trying to pull it together for the new decade. Our coed group met in the spartan, yet chic bar. They have some great beers on tap. We sat at a communal table and enjoyed the Jewish/Scottish food as Hall calls it. Bacon wrapped around Matzo ball is a first, but quite tasty. No, he is not keeping kosher. We liked everything, but his fried chicken which was batter heavy, but the pork ribs, the cucumber chick pea salad, everything else was great. There were flickering votives that made the room feel cozy. A review of it here.
Either in spite of or because of the off the beaten track (or rather, the very beaten track) the Gorbals feel like a secret. Check it out.
Side Bar: I met Chelsea Handler. I always like to support female comics since any guy with a pulse who comes off of Saturday Night Live seem to get movie deals and funny women have a harder time of it. We were at a dinner for a bunch of chefs, but since it was sponsored by Belvedere vodka they had to invite the gal who had Vodka in the title of her book. She was there and was about to leave with a large group. I had to tap her on her shoulder. I told her I was a fan. She was very nice and gracious and not at all like some boozy, crazy like some of her funny books would make her seem. I didn’t say, “Hey some people say I’m the mom version of you” as that would have sounded kind of stalky.