After former Top Cheffer Ilan Hall moved to LA, rumor had it that he wanted to open a restaurant here, and then we heard things didn't pan out and he was headed back to NYC. But as reported yesterday, Hall indeed has his sights on opening The Gorbals downtown, [CORRECTION: The name is spelled -als, not -les] a restaurant he describes as a place for "old Jewish food date-raped by bacon." Aggressive description, yes, but apparently that means bacon-wrapped matzo balls, lobster hummus, schmaltz and the like. We chatted with the new Downtownizen to get the scoop. The menu is inspired by food he ate with his family---his dad, born in Scotland, taught him how to cook; his mother is Israeli---and his travels since he won Top Chef (England, Israel, Venezuela, Romania, Spain). "I'm just taking the best bits and pieces of what I know and love," he says.
The name Gorbals refers to the neighborhood in Glasgow where his father grew up; it was once in disarray but now "it's like Soho." That's why he likes downtown LA, for its up-and-comingness: "It feels like New York 15 years ago. I live Downtown, I want to open something here. It just feels right." He's eyeing the Arts District, he's thinking small and "pub-like," and has an ambitious plan---and we mean ambitious---to find something as early as this week and start building out. "I'm shooting for as soon as possible," he says. "I already have a menu, a GM, a sous chef. If I find the right space, I think I can be open by New Year's." The city bureaucrats may think otherwise, but no harm in keeping the dream.
· Ilan Hall Not Loving LA? [~ELA~]
· Lose a CJ, Gain an Ilan [~ELA~]
· Ilan Hall Causing Riffs in NYC, Opening Gorbles in LA [~ELA~]