Last month, as part of a Menuism sponsorship, 3 lucky members from my Meetup Dining Group, Pleasure Palate, got to join me for a free Dine LA dining experience at Gorbals. Owned by Top Chef Season 2 Winner, Ilan Hall, Gorbals is known for combining Jewish and Scottish food sensibilities. For those who you have never been to Gorbals before, you should know that it's inside the historic Alexandria Hotel, so don't look for it streetside.
We ordered a total of 8 dishes that we shared family-style and it all started with the Bacon-Wrapped Matzoh Balls and Horseradish Mayonnaise, one of three different appetizers. The matzoh ball was really more for texture than anything else since the bacon overpowered it flavor-wise, but the horseradish added a nice little bite that was appealing.
The Persian Cucumbers, Za'atar and Sesame, which was the second appetizer to arrive, was actually a surprise hit. With the cool crunch of the cucumbers and the herby freshness of seasoning, this dish was very refreshing to the palate.
Rounding up our trio of appetizers was the Potato Latkes with Smoked Applesauce. In all honesty, this wasn't a memorable dish for me. I remembered that it I liked it at the time and that it had a nice light crispness to it, but nothing else really stood out.
On to our entrees and the first of the lot was the Octopus, Gizzards and Lemon. There were mixed feelings about this particular dish. I'm not into gizzards, so I only ate the octopus. I enjoyed its tenderness and the char of the grilled skin while a couple of other people in my party preferred their octopus a little more chewy.
Unfortunately, I can't speak about the Lamb Sweetbreads and Green Bean Chutney, which was second to arrive since I'm not a fan of sweetbreads, so didn't partake. I didn't necessarily hear any ooohs and ahhhs from the group, so I have no idea whether it was liked or not.
Our last entree was the Confit Pork Belly, Clapshot (Mashed Potato and Parsnip)and Onion Pickles. I really enjoyed the pork which was juicy and had some good flavor; however, the onion pickles really bothered me. There was just a strange taste to them that I couldn't identify and that I just didn't like. Thankfully, it wasn't difficult to just push them to the side and just concentrate on the pork.
It's dessert time and we shared an Oat Kugel and Whiskey Whipped Cream and a Sticky Toffee Pudding, Ice Cream and Maldon Salt. When it came to the Oat Kugel, we were served two portions. One was a thicker slice and the other was a thinner slice. The thicker slice was really dry and quite flavorless and I wasn't a fan of the whiskey whipped cream either. I would have entirely dismissed it, if I hadn't take a bite of the thinner kugel. That thinner kugel was a vast improvement. I can't remember what was in it, but it was moist and definitely had nice flaky texture.
The Sticky Toffee Pudding was definitely the finale of the evening with a cake that was moist and I enjoyed the counterbalance of the maldon salt agains the sweetness of the toffee. Our group was sharing 2 of these desserts, but I could have easily eaten one of my own easily and without guilt.
In summary, the meal at Gorbals definitely had its ups and down. It wasn't the best meal I've ever had, but it was interesting to me how certain ingredients were brought together to form a particular dish. Interesting enough that I would go back and explore more of Chef Hall's menu and if nothing else, hopefully, the Sticky Toffee Pudding would be waiting at the end of the meal.
Gorbals (inside Alexandria Hotel)
501 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
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Simply, Menuism is a restaurant review website. You won't see reviews on dentists, hair dressers or retail stores. The focus is only on food, which is my favorite topic anyway. :) It's a great way for someone who loves to share their dining experiences, but doesn't really want to take on starting and maintaining a food blog. As a food blogger for more than 3 years, I can attest to the fact that it does take work to keep one going.
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