Meatballs & Dry Erase Menus
September 14, 2010 § 1 Comment
The Meatball Shop
On Friday night, we were in the mood for something fun and different. The Meatball Shop has been on my list of places to check out since I sampled one of their spicy pork meatballs at Taste of The Nation earlier this spring, and this seemed like the perfect occasion for it. We arrived around 8:45 and were quoted a 45 minute wait – not bad at all for the Lower East Side on a Friday. We were happy to wait but were also told the bar and two standing tables in the window were first come first served. We quickly grabbed a small bar table in the front and actually enjoyed the standing dining experience after sitting at desks all day in the office.
My favorite features of the restaurant were certainly the antique meat grinding tools adorning the wall and the laminated menu which one checked boxes to order. This menu is conducive to meatballs in every format including in a bowl, as a topping, as sliders, in a hoagie or smashed in a bun. See for yourself!
We opted for the spicy pork meatballs in classic tomato sauce served with focaccia, a beef slider with parmesan cream and a lamb meatball special slider. To round out the meal, sides of polenta and saffron green beans with onions were ordered as well. We loved it all and were only encouraged to want to try more as there were so many meatball/sauce/bread combinations and permutations to explore! (I would like to think I could calculate this, but even at the peak of my high school algebra career, I probably would have gotten it wrong). The spicy pork meatballs were perfectly cooked and the beef & parmesan cream slider tasted like the most decadent burger you can fathom. The green beans were tender and reminiscent of the overcooked (in a wonderful way) green beans I am accustom to as a Southerner.
After our meatballs, we considered asking for the check and going elsewhere for another drink in order to oblige the throng of hungry people waiting outside, but our fantastic waitress would have none of it. She all but insisted we stay until we had finished a homemade ice cream sandwich and I was not one to object. Like the meatballs, you must custom build your ice cream sandwich by selecting the cookie and the ice cream. As I take ice cream very seriously, I must have pondered this menu for at least 5 minutes in silence before selecting the coconut macaroon with strawberry ice cream. This turned out to be a great combination but I have a feeling it would be hard to go wrong. The ice cream reminded me of one you would churn in a wooden ice cream maker at a summer cookout.
Even with a couple of drinks, our meal was a great value for high quality ingredients cleverly prepared and served in a lively environment. For $3, The Meatball Shop even offers draft beer by the glass (basically a half-pint), an option I came to love in England and one that I wish more bars and restaurants embraced.
I just read on Eater that they were shopping for another space, and would welcome a second Meatball Shop anywhere it pops up! For now, I will be a frequent patron of their LES outpost.