The Meatball Shop has been on "The List" for a long time, but it wasn't until the Williamsburg, Brooklyn outpost opened up that I made it there for a meal with Jen A & Tom. The original store is on Stanton in Manhattan's Lower East Side, but you'd be just as fortunate to hop on the L train and give this place a go.
We sat at the kitchen bar, aka a front row seat to some serious controlled chaos in the kitchen! These guys are HUSTLING, and they do it to a T.
The 'shtick' with Meatball Shop is that you make your order as you like it on laminated menus with dry-erase markers. You can customize your meal down to the smallest detail: type of meat, sauce, sides, you name it. You can even design a tailored cocktail, using one of their house-made infused syrups.
I checked in on FourSquare and saw a tip to try the "Fool-Aid," house-made punch. This tastes an awful like sweet grape Kool-Aid with a hefty dose of booze. It is not for the faint of heart! It was okay, and a nice foil for the meat, but I don't think I'd order this again. I think I'll go for a root beer float next time!
Jen ordered a cocktail with their lavender-thyme syrup and vodka. I tried a sip but no me gusta. Lavender tastes like soap to me in large doses, and this was not my style. Jen, however, really enjoyed it.
I decided to have a little bit of everything, so I ordered 3 sliders ($3 each): 1 beef with tomato sauce, 1 pork with spicy meat sauce, and 1 chicken with Parmesan-cream sauce. They were adorable and delicious! The meatballs were soft without collapsing, perfectly spiced, and quite nommable. I'd say the chicken and pork were my favorites, but all three were good. The spicy meat sauce had a nice kick without overpowering the tomato flavor, and the parmesan-cream sauce is potentially habit-forming!
Jen ordered 3 sliders too, and got chicken, beef and the veggie burger. She liked the first two, but her tip is to skip the veggie meatball--she found the texture overwhelming.
Tom ordered the "Smash," ($9)which is 3 meatballs and sauce, smooshed under a bun and served with arugula and apple salad (zingy and bright!) He also ordered the pork with spicy meat sauce, and gave it two thumbs up.
Jen & I shared the house salad, a mix of greens with crispy celery & radish and roasted eggplant, and fat curls of parmesan cheese on top. This was crunchy, refereshing, and had just enough dressing on it.
We also dove into a small dish of their daily risotto: this one flavored with leeks and tomatoes. Sooo good. I'm not really a rice fan, but when it's cooked in the risotto manner, I can't stop eating it!
With drinks, sides, and main dishes, this came out to about 20 dollars a person. Our orders were flawlessly excuted, they came pretty quickly, and we'd all go back in a heartbeat. I would absolutely grab a seat at the Kitchen Bar if you can--great kitchen-watching and a bit roomier than the tables. For a place that could just fall back on a 'shtick,' The Meatball Shop does an excellent job delivering more than just a fun theme.
The Meatball Shop
170 Bedford Ave