My last dinner in NYC might have been the best. It was also my second dinner, having eaten at Roberta’s earlyish (around 4:30 p.m.), giving my stomach ample time to reboot for a last supper. My friend and I headed over to The Meatball Shop on the Lower East Side (one of multiple locations) around 9 p.m. There was a 40-minute wait, but no biggie. We ended up sitting at the bar, which I really loved.
Here’s how this magical meatball haven works: Sit down, order a drink. Maybe a bitches brew (see above, on the left), house-made sangria or one of numerous delicious beer/wine options. Then start absorbing your laminated menu, on which you will use a dry-erase pen to create your own meatball-based meal.
You could go with naked balls – four meatballs (classic beef, spicy pork, chicken, vegetable, special – ours was veal that night) served with your choice of sauce (classic tomato, spicy meat, pesto, mushroom gravy, parmesan cream) and a stick of foccacia bread. All for seven bucks. Or, you could go the smash route – two balls smashed on a brioche bun with similar sauce/topping options. Add family jewels (a fried egg) to any selection for one dollar. If you’re feeling healthy (but not boring, I promise!), you can do what I did: everything but the kitchen sink. You’ll get three sizable balls (I went with chicken) doused in sauce (I went with pesto) over a bed of roasted veggies, arugula and pear salad, cucumber salad, garbanzos, mushrooms…really everything but the kitchen sink and for only 10 dollars. I think they were the best meatballs I’ve ever had.
You can also custom create a hero sandwich or sliders. It’s literally impossible to go wrong here. Plus, they were playing the most epic old-school rap – think Biggie, Aaliyah, House of Payne and the like. Really fun vibe. If it hadn’t been my second dinner, I would have absolutely opted for their dessert option: create-your-own ice cream sandwiches. This place is out of control. I miss it already.