5 Questions for Ilan Hall
Ilan Hall is chef-owner of the Gorbals, everybody's favorite Scottish-Jewish-ish downtown restaurant, known for its GLT (gribenes, lettuce and tomato sandwich), bacon-wrapped fried matzo balls and lots of off cuts: half roasted pig's head, confit tongue, "popcorn gizzards." The "Top Chef" winner's next project is a wine bar on Sunset Boulevard called Gorge, set to open this summer.
What’s coming up next on your menu? Radishes with whipped brown butter and bonito; grilled apricots with Mangalitsa lardo and almonds; acorn-fed Berkshire pork belly with spot-prawn broth and pea tips; Manila mangoes with smoked bone marrow, Maldon salt and chile threads.
Latest ingredient obsession? Datu puti. It's a Filipino cane vinegar that's steeped with aromatics. It can be very spicy. Perfect to mask the reality of eating balut.
What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again? Western Soondae. The soondae, which is Korean blood sausage bound by rice noodles, is so rich and snappy. It reminds me of the morcilla at La Isla, a 24-hour cuchifritos restaurant I used to frequent in Alphabet City.
The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? Sharpie marker.
Favorite kitchen soundtrack? Action Bronson's "Blue Chips."
The Gorbals, 501 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, (213) 488-3408, www.thegorbalsla.com.
-- Betty Hallock
Photo: Ilan Hall, chef-owner of the Gorbals. Credit: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images