WHY An eccentric Jewish-Scottish hipster spot that’s surprisingly affordable given the celebrity status of the chef—the most expensive dish is $15.
WHAT Helmed by Top Chef winner Ilan Hall, the Gorbals is anything but flashy—an almost-barren candlelit room tucked into the aging Alexandria Hotel, now used for affordable housing. The small menu draws inspiration from Hall’s Scottish and Jewish heritage but isn’t defined by a genre. Tongue-in-cheek dishes include tiny bacon-wrapped matzo balls (the bacon overwhelms the matzo) and tender Manischewitz-braised pork belly. Overly salty butternut squash latkes are paired with fluffy chestnut foam. Too many dishes bounce between being bland (the latkes) and intense (the smoky, spicy-hot brisket), but the smoked salmon hits it right. A small California wine list and decent Scotch selection keeps drinkers happy.
WHO Couples on the early side and stylish young folks who waltz in a bit later to take over one of the communal tables.
Features: Cocktails, Dinner, Lunch, Value
Price Range: $10-$16, $10-under
Cuisine Type: Modern American