The Meatball Shop

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hype in New York City is a dangerous thing. And it happens all too often. I don't even really understand how it happens, but before long, you've got Hollywood celebs visiting these places while they're taking meetings in New York City and then it becomes a self-perpetuating disease you can't stamp out.

The best example of this is Serendipity 3. The food there is NOT GOOD. I went there for the first time when I was 15 or 16, and even with my pre-foodie tongue, I knew. The desserts are only a notch above the entrees, and I'll let you know right now (to save you a trip and some money) that the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate is nothing to write home about. Dunkin Donuts created its own version this summer, and while I haven't tasted the re-creation, it looks pretty much exactly like Serendipity's Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. That is, a bunch of slushy ice with some chocolate milk or flavoring. For $10 or however much it goes for now at Serendipity 3, you get an extra shot of whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate shavings.

I digress. So there was a lot of hype surrounding The Meatball Shop, which may have been one of the reasons it took me so long to make my way down there. But I finally rendezvoused with a friend there last week, excited for some balls of meat.

The menu there is fun, and funny. The guys behind it seem to love being punny with what they sell. Check out the menu for yourself.

I wasn't in a particularly adventurous mood that evening, so I went with the "naked" (4 balls, focaccia) beef meatballs with the pesto and a side of corn and chive risotto. And an apple iced tea, which was basically half iced tea and half apple cider. The mixture was, of course, cloudy, and a little grainy in my mouth. I didn't think the two flavors paired well together.

Moving on, the balls. They were sal-ty. Like really salty. The texture was fluffy, almost to the point of falling apart. They had some amount of fat in them to keep them moist, but they weren't all that great. I still stand by my Trader Joe's frozen turkey meatballs. Those taste better, are fluffy AND hold together better.

My dining companion ordered the "naked" special of the day, which was some sort of lamb ball, which she dressed with the same pesto sauce I'd chosen. Her balls were not sal-ty. And the lamb had some lemon zest in it and maybe garlic, which formed a harmonious zing. As for the side, the corn and chive risotto was a lot more pleasing than my meatballs. It was sweet, creamy, and soothing. My friend had the mashed potatoes. That was probably the highlight of the dinner.

It's sad to me when you call yourself The Meatball Shop and your vegetarian sides are better than your meat, but maybe they had an off day. I'd probably go back just for the novelty, but I'd definitely stay away from the beef meatballs.

The Meatball Shop
84 Stanton Street (Manhattan)
170 Bedford Avenue (Brooklyn)

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