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The Meatball Shop, New York, NY

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | August 31st, 2011 | Restaurant Reviews
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Have I mentioned that I love when travel, be it business or pleasure, brings me to Manhattan?  It really is an amazing place to be.  Earlier this month, I spent a few days there on business.  With perfectly aligned schedules, my husband was able to schedule his work travel to match mine, which meant that our evenings could be spent trying new restaurants.

This trip stretched into the weekend, which allowed for even more time to explore different neighborhoods.  After a multi-hour, 120 block walk during the midday, I found myself watching PBS in the late afternoon on Saturday.  What luck there was that I did this, as I saw an episode of Michael Colameco’s Real Food, in which he visited The Meatball Shop, Sorella, and Stellina.  Watching this 30 minute show gave us the plans for our evening.

Our first stop of the evening was The Meatball Shop.  We knew they didn’t take reservations, so we headed there expecting a wait.  We arrived a 8:15 and were told it was anywhere between an hour and an hour and a half wait.  That was fine for us.  We left our name and a phone number and found a local (and less crowded) restaurant at which we could have a cocktail.  We returned to The Meatball Shop at 9:30 and were seated within minutes.

When seated, we were given erasable menus and glasses of water.  The waitress arrived and explained the menu to us, including the ordering options.  Meatballs can be ordered in the following ways: Naked, Sliders, Hoagies, Smash.  There also are sides and salads from which to choose.  We had decided that The Meatball Shop would be one of two or three stops this evening, so we didn’t delve into sides or bigger sandwiches and kept our order simple.

The first item we chose were the Classic Beef Balls in Classic Tomato Sauce.  While that may seem a little mundane, it seemed the best way to determine how good these meatballs were.  They were excellent!  Well-seasoned and generously sized, these meatballs instantly proved that these restaurant owners know what they’re doing.

The second item was another order of Naked Balls, Spicy Pork with Parmesan Cream Sauce.  I will admit that I am the first person to ask for sauce or dressing on the side, as I don’t enjoy heavy sauces.  However, this parmesan cream sauce was amazing.  For every bite of meatball that I had, I dragged it through the cream sauce to ensure that I received a healthy taste of the parmesan.  My husband and I decided that this combination was our favorite of the night.

Our third and final item was a single Chicken Meatball and Pesto Sauce Slider.  Both the meatball and sauce were perfectly flavored.  The pesto had a great balance of cheese and basil.  Served on a bun that was soft but sturdy enough to hold its filling, it was a nice way to end our meal.

As a note, seating is tight in this restaurant, and as you can surmise from the long waits, all tables are full.  While this means that you will be in close quarters with nearby diners, it fits the vibe of the restaurant.  Another positive note is that although you will wait to be seated, once inside the service is quite fast.

We were thoroughly pleased with our luck in discovering this restaurant and are certain that we will return.  There are many more combinations and dishes to try at The Meatball Shop.

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