Summer evenings in the city often result in endless eating and exploring around unfamiliar streets. After church this past Sunday, I headed out to East Village with Sunhye and Amanda from my church for a girls’ night out. We headed over to The Meatball Shop, which Sunhye had been endlessly talking about since her visit last summer. According to her, this restaurant had the best meatballs she’s ever tasted. Amanda and I followed her with great expectations, and after a long one-hour journey on the subway, we finally arrived at The Meatball Shop.
As expected, the place was packed with people who wanted some quality meat ball-y goodness. We were lucky enough to find three open seats at the bar and were seated immediately upon walking in. The hostess had told us that there is usually a 30-45 minute wait on busy evenings, which is the norm on most nights. One fun thing about The Meatball Shop is that diners get to check off their selections right on the laminated menu page with dry-erase markers. The Meatball Shop has a variety of meatballs, sauces, and sides to choose which are all moderately priced. With a list of specials written on a small chalkboard hanging on their wall and an open kitchen, The Meatball Shop is a dainty yet authentic Italian restaurant.
The girls and I started off with drinks; house-made sangria for me, the witch’s brew for Sunhye and the raspberry mint lemonade (the day’s special drink) for Amanda. Shortly after getting our drinks, our food came out. The great thing about being seated at the bar is that your food tends to come out faster than people seated at tables. I had ordered the chicken meatballs with mushroom gravy with a side of the day’s special portabella and spinach risotto. The dish comes out with four meatballs drowsed in sauce with aside of focaccia bread. I absolutely loved my chicken meatballs. The mushroom gravy was hearty and homey, a dish that reminded me of a warm holiday meal. The only downside to the gravy was the seasoning; it was a bit too salty for my tastes and I definitely would’ve preferred it with more pepper. What disappointed me was the portabella and spinach risotto. I expected a creamy blend of rice, portabella, and spinach, but what I received was a plate of undercooked risotto. There were flakes of crispy rice, and some of the spinach was still raw. Although my chicken meatballs and mushroom gravy were rich in flavor, the risotto was not up to par.
Since the three of us had all ordered separate combinations of meatballs and sauces, I was able to receive different tastes of what The Meatball Shop had to offer. Sunhye had ordered the special of the day meatball (steak, bacon, and cheddar) with parmesan cream on top of mashed potato. This was absolutely delicious. Everything in this dish was creamy and rich with cheese, and it even had a slight smoky taste, which I found to be a perfect complement to the overall heavy dish. Amanda had ordered beef meatballs with spicy meat sauce and a side of the portabella and spinach risotto. Even though the sauce that she chose was a spicy meat sauce, the overall dish was light, clean, and fresh with a slight spiciness and zesty flavor to the sauce.
To top off our meal, we ordered one of their famous ice cream sandwiches: espresso ice cream in between two snicker doodle cookies. After tasting this concoction, we all understood why ice cream sandwiches are the most popular part of the meals here. The refreshing ice cream had a creamy and rich flavor, and the snicker doodle cookies that held it together had the sweet and chewy taste that a properly baked cookie should have. Ultimately), our experience at The Meatball Shop had been phenomenal and I’ll be sure to check out their Brooklyn location soon.