The food interwebs has been all aflutter lately about gastropubs – myself not excluded.Â The craze over savory, rich and salty dishes only helps the shared, small plates-style of serving guests become more commonplace in a city (that’s us, Los Angeles) that prides itself on accessibly delicious food. And if not, then everyone at the table gets a taste without the commitment.
All this harkens me back to a dish I had earlier this fall at The Gorbals. (Better late than never.)Â Indeed, it was the standout dish not only because it was well-executed, but also evokes a sort of blasphemous, tongue-in-cheek humor. Though I’m not Jewish in practice nor ethnicity,Â my name is stillÂ Esther on the phone and I spend my 9-5 outnumbered by non-kosher Jewish colleagues. It goes without saying, then, that most of them now know of this dish that they can only get in Downtown LA, and preferablyÂ not on a Thursday night,Â should they favor avoiding the Art WalkÂ crowds (go early, should you favor being a part of that crowd yourself).
It’s not inÂ a soup, but the balls thrive onÂ their own as piping-hot, juicy spheres of ground matzo and chicken stock. Of course, theyÂ are all taken to that level with the tenderÂ strips of bacon that make the orbit. The globes of matzoÂ sit atop mustard aioli and are briefly showered with fresh-grated horseradish, which helps keep things from resting upon the bacon’s laurels by packing a couple punches inÂ those couple of ways. The aioli really is perfect.
I will return for these andÂ one of their many solidÂ cocktailsÂ that rotate their chalkboard. Besides, there are many otherÂ small platesÂ on Ilan Hall’s menu I have to try. It doesn’t mean that they can’t make for a big meal.