Due to my intense love of the Meatball Shop, I was slightly skeptical when The Meatball Factory opened in the East Village last October. I was worried that the "meatball thing" was getting a little too trendy and that this new Factory would try to be just like the Shop.
Always willing to be proven wrong, I accepted an invitation from a fellow food blogger to try out The Meatball Factory a few weeks ago. I mostly wanted to see if their meatballs could hold a candle to Chernow & Holzman's, so I grabbed Patrick and off we went to The Meatball Factory on a rainy New York City night.
The restaurant wasn't very busy when we arrived but I instantly liked how warm and cozy it was inside. Dark wood and dim lighting set the mood for our meal, and then the food started to arrive to the table. First, the restaurant's namesake.
We had the Turducken Meatballs (house blend of Shady Farms turkey, Bell & Evans chicken, Hudson Valley Farms duck confit, sage & allspice) with Dragon's Lair Sauce (green curry peanut sauce with red bell pepper and thai basil)
and Hog Wild Meatballs (raised heritage pork shoulder, ground heritage pork shoulder, Nueske’s cherrywood bacon fat, mascarpone and a dash of red chili paste) with Pepper Monkey Sauce (Dave’s roasted poblano bbq sauce- a smokey & tangy blend of roasted chiles & tomatoes, cider vinegar, & molasses.)
I LOVED the Turducken Meatballs. They were tender and delicious and the Dragon's Lair Sauce was one of the best sauces I have ever tasted on anything. I had to restrain myself from picking up the bowl and drinking it, it was that good. On the other hand, I wasn't crazy about the Hog Wild Meatballs. I found the consistency to be a little bit chewy and too dense. The BBQ sauce was okay, but nothing special. Needless to say, I focused most of my attention on the bowl of Turducken balls. YUM!
I did try to save some room for the rest of the food we had coming, the Shrooming Pizza with Roasted wild mushrooms, baby arugula & truffle time cream sauce and the Roasted Brussels Sprouts with maple syrup and red chili sauce.
The pizza was even better than the meatballs. I loved how thin the crust was and the mushrooms were earthy and perfectly cooked. The pizza was gone faster than it had come out, and we moved onto the Brussels Sprouts.
While Brussels Sprouts are my favorite vegetable, I tend to like them a little bit on the lighter side with just a touch of salt, pepper and olive oil. These were very tasty, but the maple syrup weighed them down and made them a bit too sugary. Don't get me wrong, we finished every last one, but I would have liked them better with less on them.
Even though this meal had us incredibly full, we knew we still had dessert coming, the Hot Tin Roof Sundae (Daves malted hot fudge & sea salt caramel along with candied nutmeg walnuts over marshmellow gelato.) I know I mention this in almost every post, but dessert just isn't my thing. This one wasn't much different, but it was still pretty tasty. The walnuts added a good amount of salt to the dessert, which I like, and mixed with the caramel I almost enjoyed it, but I left most of the dessert-eating to my sweets-loving boyfriend. But not before I had him snap a photo of me with a rare dessert that I actually liked!
Overall, I really enjoyed our meal at The Meatball Factory. I was glad we gave it a chance and was even pleasantly surprised that short of the name, The Meatball Factory is not trying to be The Meatball Shop. The Shop's meatballs are more of the rustic Italian variety and while the Meatball Factory is definitely riding on more of the trendy meatball wave, some of the food is good enough to sustain it. Some dishes were certainly better than others, but Patrick and I both liked the food we had and would go back again for more. Especially that Dragon's Lair Sauce!
How do you feel about the meatball trend? Shop or Factory? I'm still very strongly in the Shop camp if I had to choose, but it's best not to compare them, as they are two very different restaurants.
-The Fabulous Foodie