Hey there, Brooklyn—are you ready for bacon-wrapped matzoh balls and silken tofu made with pigs blood? Because Top Chef Season Two-winner Ilan Hall has finally opened the Williamsburg outpost of his LA sensation, The Gorbals, inside of the Urban Outfitters concept store known as Space Ninety 8.
After ascending an industrial staircase, winding past home goods and the woman’s and menswear departments (they’re doing awfully cute things with knit) revelers packed the tri-level space — skinny bar, zen dining area, expansive, star-lit rooftop boasting individual tents — for the restaurant’s coming out party on Thursday night, sampling cocktails such as “The Son of a Gun” (essentially a pear margarita) and the blueberry, rum and almond syrup-based “The Darby,” as well as just a few of the highly conceptualized bites from the open kitchen. If you can stand the radiant heat from the yawning woodfired oven, we imagine it will be great fun for solo diners (or duos on awkward first dates) to take advantage of the sushi bar-style seats along the counter in order to watch the energized, bespectacled Hall at work, although larger parties will probably be more comfortable in the padded chairs clustered around streamlined wooden tables, set against hanging, paned glass windows reminiscent of Japanese sliding screens.
Of course it was merely a small sampling of what patrons can expect from Hall and his adventurous menu, which will include many of the LA Gorbals dishes the chef has become known for (a gribenes, lettuce and tomato sandwich and those aforementioned, pig skin-swathed matzoh balls), as well as a few true Brooklyn originals, such as Monkfish Cheek with dehydrated vegetables, Celery Gazpacho with celery cheese and fish sauce, Grilled Lamb Sweetbreads with cool ranch hummus and pickled garlic, Lamb Breast with smoked ginger and vinegared potatoes, Ramp Funnel Cake with green onion sugar, Schnitzel with the hooves still on it, and “some approachable stuff.”
Add in a hand monogrammed Baggu bag from one of the onsite artistes downstairs, and it sounds like the making of a seriously hot night out in Williamsburg.
Space Ninety 8: 98 N. 6th Street, Williamsburg