It exists, a restaurant that is focused on serving the best meatballs that every Italian grandmother will approve of.
In the Lower East Side of Manhattan is where you’ll find The Meatball Shop — a tiny intimate restaurant that shuffles in a crowd that is looking for the timeless Italian comfort food. The menu has a large selection of types of meatballs and sauces; you mix and match the type of meat, the sauce, and you can add “jewels” aka a fried egg to the top of your dish.
You first pick a “naked ball”: classic beef, spicy pork, chicken, or vegetable — you get four of these in your dish.
Then, you pick a sauce: classic tomato, spicy meat sauce, mushroom gravy, parmesan cream, or pesto.
Then you can decide if you want to add the jewels.
This is one type of dish that you can order at The Meatball Shop. You can also pick different sliders (you pick a type of meatball and a sauce and it’s then placed on a bun). There are also Heroes on the menu — you pick the balls (classic beef, spicy pork, chicken, or vegetable), then you pick the sauce (classic tomato, spicy meat sauce, mushroom gravy, parmesan cream, or pesto), you decide which bread you would prefer (white or whole wheat), and finally you pick the cheese (provolone or mozzarella).
There are side dishes you can order too that don’t have anything to do with meatballs — like risotto, mashed potatoes, rigatoni, steamed spinach, and more.
I surprisingly ordered the spicy pork (I don’t eat pork… ever) with the parmesan cream sauce (“it’s like alfredo sauce on steroids”), and of course I had the jewels on my balls. The dish is served with a piece of focaccia bread aka the perfect tool to scoop out the remaining sauce out of the bowl after you eat your meatballs.
The best meatballs are moist and never dried out — and that is exactly what these balls from the Meatball Shop are. There are four meatballs in each dish which is the perfect serving size! I loved the spicy kick the pork had and paired with the cream sauce and egg I knew I made the best choice for lunch. I have a theory that a fried egg truly makes a dish better. Some people may be grossed out by the “runny” texture of a fried egg, but when it’s served with a cream sauce you don’t even notice it.
I had actually gone to the Meatball Shop before for a friend’s birthday but I had eaten dinner before my arrival to the restaurant so I only took a couple bites of my friends’ meals. I loved the restaurant’s ice cream sandwiches — you mix and match different flavors of ice cream and cookies and can make the perfect pairing.
The downside to The Meatball Shop is the wait. It’s such a long wait especially on a Friday or Saturday night and the restaurant doesn’t take reservations. So I would recommend either going for lunch one afternoon or put your name in and get drinks at a neighborhood bar close by to pass the time. Let me put it this way, when I was with my friends they finished their dinner around 1 a.m and the restaurant was still packed and people were still waiting to be seated for dinner!