The Meatball Shop
200 Ninth Avenue (22nd St)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 257-4363
SUN - THURS
FRI & SAT
Site: Visit the restaurant site
2nd Cuisine: Italian
When my friend Kimberly and I entered the Meatball Shop one evening during the first of this winter's (so far) two Polar Vortexes, we expected a fairly sedate scene. Who would be out in sub-zero temperatures on a Tuesday to eat meatballs?
Well--loads of people. The place was pretty jammed with fans of its
locally sourced ingredients, yummy comfort food, and sense of humor.
If you're offended by plays on the word "balls," this might not be the
place for you. But if you'll get a kick out of contemplating, and
ordering, "naked balls" or "the family jewels," you'll be right at
home. As for drinks (alcoholic or non), the menu encourages them--after
all, it explains, "You'll get thirsty eating our balls."
And how tasty are their balls, anyway? I'm always excited when dishes
that traditionally contain meat are offered meat-free, so I was happy
to order the Vegetable balls, with a side of risotto and a mushroom
gravy sauce (the sides are "served either under your balls or on the
side"--I chose under; $13 for four balls and a side). Kimberly was
pleased with her Chicken balls and a side of Daily Roast Veggies (same
price). We both enjoyed a glass of the Sangria--only one glass, but
enough to make me forget to write down the price, and I can't locate
it online. The entire meal was fresh, unfussy, and quite delicious,
and I'd love to go back to sample the other sauces (five total) and
sides (six starch, six vegetable).
Though we skipped dessert this time, I'd also go back to try it. Ice
cream sandwiches--house-made ice cream between fresh-baked cookies (you
can get the same for top and bottom or different kinds)--sound like a
This place is a lot of fun, and it well might make you laugh. Its vibe
is festive and laughter-filled, and the website for the restaurants is
likewise lighthearted. But beneath all that (beneath their balls, as
co-owners and native New Yorkers Michael Chernow and Daniel Holzman
might say) is a seriously good plan for food consumption: "Eat simple;
eat sustainable; eat good food with no strings attached."
Review By: Pamela Grossman