Thursday, January 20, 2011

Are You Ready For Some Meatballs?

I will start off by saying that no one, NO ONE, will ever make better meatballs than my dad's mother used to make. Now that we've established that fact, I can move onto the best meatballs not made by a member of my family. I heard about The Meatball Shop this past summer after it opened early in 2010, and I've personally been to the Lower East Side spot twice.
For those of you New Yorkers who are unfamiliar with this house of meatballs, I ask you, "Have you been living under a rock?!" The Meatball Shop guys (I am referring to co-owners Daniel Holzman & Michael Chernow) are everywhere!
Recently they were featured on The Jimmy Fallon Show. More on them later.

As a side note, I've been following another NYC foodie blogger named Megan whose blog is called This Girl Can Eat. If you haven't read her blog, you're missing out! I saw the post she did on The Meatball Shop and she mentioned that they were going to be putting on a 6-course meatball feast at the James Beard House and that tickets were still available. I immediately tweeted at her to find out if she was going, and such was the start of a lovely foodie friendship. We ended up getting tickets to the event and meeting up to enjoy the meal together. It's true that we both prayed the other wouldn't turn out to be a total sketchball, and we were pleasantly surprised to find out that we had a ton in common.

I'll spare you the details of two foodies bonding over meatballs and just tell you about the meal itself because It. Was. Fabulous.

We checked our coats and were shown into the James Beard House through the kitchen. But what's this? The Meatball Shop guys themselves are in the kitchen preparing the meal? So cool! We both stood there and geeked out for awhile before continuing into the main room for some Prosecco. We stood around getting to know each other and out of the kitchen came the first 3 courses:
1. Miniature Maryland Crabmeat and Potato Chip Meatballs with Old Bay Dipping Sauce
2. Miniature Buffalo Chicken Meatballs with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce
3. Reuben Meatball Sliders with Sauerkraut and Thousand Island Dressing

Words can't even describe how incredible these 3 meatballs were. The Crabmeat and Potato Chip meatball tasted like the best crabcake I'd ever had. The buffalo chicken meatball tasted like the best boneless wing I'd ever had. And I was plesently surprised by the Reuben meatball because I'm not a huge fan of sauerkraut. They were all amazing!
At this point my dining companion wanted to go say hi to the Meatball Shop guys because she has been exchanging messages back and forth with them, so we stepped back into the kitchen. We found Daniel Holzman hanging out in the kitchen with his mom and he couldn't have been happier to talk to us. Talk about gracious! This guy was so nice! We chatted with him for a few minutes and we could tell he was genuinely a nice guy. I'm always happy when the good guys find success. They deserve it!

We finished up our chat and headed upstairs to the dining room for the main courses. We were seated at a table for 6, but we barely said a word to the other 4 at our table. Maybe it was rude, but my new foodie friend and I had only just met and we had so much to talk about!

One by one, the meatballs (and wine!) arrived:

Mushroom–Lentil Soup with Chicken Meatballs paired with Fattori Runcaris Soave
Mediterranean Lamb Meatballs with Braised Kale and Classic Tomato Sauce paired with Cesani Ireos Chianti
Spicy Pork Meatballs and Spicy Meat Sauce with Soft Polenta paired with Parusso Barbera d’Alba
Every course was better than the one before it, but they were all delicious. The wines paired perfectly with the meatballs and by the time I was finished, I was satisfied and happy.

I looked on the menu and saw that there was 1 more pairing left:
Walnut Meringue Sandwich Cookies with Chocolate Ice Cream with a Port ToddyI only planned to take one bite so I could write about it honestly. And then once I took a bite, I was only going to take ONE more bite. And then, the whole darn thing was gone. Whoops. It went so perfectly with the spicy Port Toddy that oozed with cinnamon that I couldn't help myself. It's hard to say I'm "not a dessert person" after I basically lick my plate. Oh well, c'est la vie!

After we finished the meal, Daniel & Michael got up and thanked everyone for coming. We stood up as we realized that a glass of Prosecco, 3 glasses of wine and a port toddy meant our heads were spinning and giggled ourselves all the way back downstairs. We saw Daniel on our way out and he personally thanked us for coming and not for one second did I sense anything insincere about him. He is truly an awesome guy who has not let his overnight stardom go to his head. Like I said before, these guys deserve all the success they have coming to them, and I wish them nothing but the best. Keep those meatballs coming!

At lunch, they announced that 2 more locations would be opening, in the West Village & Williamsburg. Amazing! I can't wait for many more meatball meals at The Meatball Shop.

What are your thoughts about a restaurant that only focuses on one type of food? Love it? Hate it? Can't live without it? I fall into the last group in that list. I can't wait for more foodie adventures, but it will be hard to top this one!

Let's Eat!
-The Fabulous Foodie


  1. Yeay, this was such a great time! So great having a little meatball adventure with you! :-)

  2. I absolutely love this place. I have emailed Dan a few times to gush about how much i absolutely love this place and hes been awesome at responding to a complete strangers obsessed with his resturant. And one day, like a few hours after he responded to my latest email, i saw him while i was ordering some balls to go. And i totally geeked out.
    "Dan. Its me Monique- the Food Snob?"
    And maybe he had no idea who i was but he said "Oh wow, Hi" and shook my hand (followd by the whole where are you from and what not...) but it was def a huge moment for me.
    :-) Not a Tom C. but def close LOL IMHO