Ilan Hall has long dreamed of opening a restaurant here in New York City, his hometown, but it took establishing himself in L.A. to make that possible. After stints under Tom Colicchio and Mario Batali -- and a Top Chef season two win -- he moved to the west coast, he says, because "I wanted a new place, new atmosphere, everything new. Opening a restaurant in New York is incredibly difficult -- L.A. is a more comforting environment. Back when I was opening, the restaurant scene was less immediately critical. It was a warmer and fuzzier place to open up my first restaurant."
Five years ago, he debuted The Gorbals in downtown Los Angeles, garnering accolades for his quirky Scottish-Israeli food. His success prompted Urban Outfitters to tap him for a restaurant in the Brooklyn outpost the company was building; this week, Hall celebrated his homecoming by opening a second location of The Gorbals (98 North 6th Street, Brooklyn) in Williamsburg. More »