The Meatball Shop
Meatballs haven't been much more than an afterthought lately, barely found on Italian menus and relegated to the bottom of the hero list at local pizza shops (And with good reason. They're usually hard and rubbery.) But those days appear to be over. Bon Appetit recently gave the modest meatball top billing on its cover with recipes ranging from a Morrocan beef meatball tangine to bobbing for meatballs in an ancho chile soup. The later sounds like fun. But nowhere is the meatball more prized than at The Meatball Shop on the Lower East Side.
Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow, childhood friends, have turned their love of meatballs into the city's hippest new comfort food, tucking them into sliders ($3 ea) and heroes ($9) served on Il Forno baguettes or straight up with a shot of sauce.
Straight up is my personal favorite. Four meatballs topped with sauce ($7) served with focaccia. Here's where things get difficult. Choosing your balls (and yes there are lot of ball jokes in the air) which range from classic beef and pork to chicken, salmon and vegetable. The meatballs are then matched up with your favorite sauce; a rich tomato, spicy meat sauce, mushroom gravy or parmesan cream. Sides include a simple arugula and apple salad, risotto and mashed potatoes. Ice cream sandwiches are served for dessert made with homemade cookies and brownies.
The Meatball Shop fills up quickly, so get in early. There's a large sharing table, a fewer smaller ones and space at the bar or take out. Just be sure to get your balls.
Review By: Thomas Rafael