The Gorbals

gorbals Photograph by Jessica Boone

The name refers to a poor Jewish neighborhood in Glasgow, and it’s not the only puzzling thing about Top Chef winner Ilan Hall’s first L.A. restaurant. The space is set deep inside downtown’s barely renovated (read: still sketchy) Alexandria Hotel. Dishes are a mix of traditional Jewish, Scottish, and Middle Eastern cuisines—really. The staff is even more confused than the diners. None of this head scratching matters, however, if the food works, and most of it does. Haggis meatballs are bright bullets of flavor in a rich soup. Scooping marrow onto meaty oyster mushrooms is primal. Whatever your feelings about bacon-wrapped matzo balls (above), this isn’t just a gimmick. » 501 S. Spring St., downtown (213-488-3408 or D Tue.-Sun. Full bar. Eclectic $$

Photograph by Jessica Boone