The Meatball Shop is a restaurant that is devoted entirely to serving meatballs – meatballs on pasta, meatballs on buns or just plain meatballs in a bowl. They have two locations, one in the Lower East Side and the other in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I had the pleasure of eating in the LES location. The boyfriend and I were in the neighborhood before our driving lessons and decided to pop in for lunch since we’ve heard wonderful reviews about it. We ventured in around 11:30 and were told they don’t open for lunch until 12:00pm. So we went on a short walk, where we ran into a delicious bakery (Sugar Sweet Sunshine). When we returned around 12:15 there was already an almost full restaurant. Luckily, we were seated without much of a wait.
One unique aspect of The Meatball Shop is their menu. The menus are laminated in plastic and placed on your table before you sit. Next to the menus are dry-erase markers for you to mark down what you would like to eat. When you’re ready, a waitress or waiter will be by to collect your menu and put in your order. The menu is only about a page in length, meaning there aren’t a lot of foods on it. But in actuality, there are a variety of options for you to choose from because you can have meatballs served with a variety of sides and pastas. You can also choose from several options of sauces for your meatballs. Not only that, they also offer any meatball with any sauce on a bun.
I ordered their meatballs a la carte. Their a la carte meatballs comes with four meatballs of your choice and in any sauce of your choosing. I chose the classic beef meatballs with their Parmesan Cream sauce. Their classic beef meatballs are made with ground beef, prosciutto, and fresh ricotta. I had never had meatballs that were made without breadcrumbs so this was something new for me. Their meatballs were very chewy and flavorful. When I was eating them, it felt very light and settled nicely in my stomach. When I finished the four meatballs, I was more than full. I couldn’t have possible eaten any more! Even though four meatballs does not look like a lot, it is very filling. Their Parmesan Cream is described on their website as “Alfredo sauce on steroids” and I fully agree with them. The sauce tasted exactly like I was eating fettuccine alfredo but a lot more delicious. The sauce was creamy and cheesy. The grated Parmesan cheese on top of the meatballs had melted by the time I dug into my meal, which made the sauce even cheesier. The meatballs came with a piece of focaccia bread which tasted amazing when dipped in the cream sauce.
The boyfriend ordered their classic beef meatballs with the classic tomato sauce on il Forno baguette. His sandwich featured three meatballs and melted mozzarella cheese on top of the baguette. The order comes with a small side salad of arugula and apples. The side salad was very simple and delicious. The star of the order would have to be the sandwich. His meatballs, although the same classic beef as mine, tasted completely different with the classic tomato sauce. The meatballs with the classic tomato sauce tasted like homemade Italian meatballs. The meatballs were juicy while the tomato sauce didnt’ overbalance the flavor of the meatball at all.
I really enjoyed my experience at The Meatball Shop. The service was attentive and after I was seated I noticed a small feature by my chair that the ladies would really appreciate. Next to my chair was a built in hook on the wall for ladies to hang their bags on. Usually when I go to a restaurant, I have to hang my bag on the back of my chair, which resulted in the bag falling off whenever someone brushed by. The other option would be to put my bag behind me on the seat, which resulted in very little space for me to park my butt on the chair. This was a nice feature as I just hung my bag right by my chair. No hassle whatsoever.
Overall I would rate The Meatball Shop 4/5 stars. But make sure you try to catch them off lunch/dinner hours or else your wait might be over an hour!