I recently attended the holiday party for Webgrrls and dropped my business card in a glass bowl for the various prizes being raffled off that evening. You know the drill; hearing everyone else’s name but your own, for the really cool prizes you would love to win. Well lucky for me, I did win the perfect prize for me. The Meatball Shop Cookbook and a $50 giftcard to the restaurant. It didn’t take me long to try it out.
The Meatball Shop has 3 locations, but I choose to sample the original on the Lower Eastside. This cozy restaurant isn’t large, so be prepared to wait. I timed it perfectly for lunch, and got a seat at the bar.
There is a long wooden communal table down the center with smaller tables on the perimeter. The place was hopping by noon and I was starving. I glanced at the menu with a bit a confusion. There seems to be a secret code to ordering and this is my first time. The server/bartender behind the bar points out the options. Choose your ball - Pork, Beef, Chicken, Vegetable then your sauce – marina, spicy meat, pesto, alfredo etc and then build around it. Sides, sandwich, salad….oh my. With my marker, I check off beef meatball bowl with tomato sauce over polenta. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
I look around and noticed the specials on the board. Ball – Lamb, Veggie – Braised Brussels Sprouts & Maple Glazed Beans, Risotto – Saffron Chive, Market Salad – Arugula, Endive & Pear with a Sherry Vinegarette topped with Candies Pecans, Cookie – Cocoa Peppermint, Ice Cream – White Chocolate Caramel, Drink – Thyme Lemonade. Nope…still happy with my choice.
Soon a bowl of Sunday supper is set down in front of me. One whiff and I’m in heaven. Picture it – 3 meaty and juicy meatballs covered with a sweet tomato sauce over creamy polenta with snowflakes of parmesan cheese on top. DIVINE. I’m sure you’re thinking; “What’s the big deal about meatballs?” Answet – They are the perfect nibble that is so simple, yet so complicated. My Grandfather made the BEST meatballs and to this day, I haven’t been able to replicate them. Damn you Nannu, what’s the secret to your meatballs???? I digress…
These meatballs, did not disappoint. A close second to my Grandfather’s. The Polenta, however, was BRILLIANT. Creamy, cheesy and velvety. I can’t wait to try their recipe at home. Needless to say, I cleaned my plate.
My server asked if I had room for dessert. “You must try our signature ice cream sandwiches.” You don’t have to ask me twice, but before I could get my order out….fullness and guilt set in. Going to pass but will leave room next time.
My Italian feast cost only $11 and with the money still left on my giftcard, I have an excuse to come back again. There’s an ice cream sandwich with my name on it.
Happiness. $25 and under.