Meatballs All Around! – The Meatball Shop Review

<img alt=”The Meatball Shop on Urbanspoon” src=”” style=”border:none;padding:0px;width:200px;height:146px” />

Ever think meatballs could be all the rage? Neither did I until I stumbled upon the bustling Meatball Shop. Intended as a favored stop for Lower East Side bar seekers, the Italian restaurant is known for its hearty spheres, complimentary sauces, and relaxed vibe. The menu is modest yet full of choices. First, hungry patrons choose from five types of meat balls: Chicken, Beef, Spicy Pork, Vegetable, or the Special: in addition to the consistent fare, there is a daily unique offering of selections. From there diners may choose a sauce whether is it Parmesan Cream, Pesto or one of their other three selections. At this point it’s all for the taking. How would you like your entrée served? Would you like to have them as sliders, heroes, or a smash sandwich – two meatballs “smashed” on a toasted brioche bun. All sandwiches are served with your choice of mozzarella or provolone cheese, a sauce and a side salad. Hungry for more choices? Here comes a curve “ball”- Everything but the Kitchen Sink – a dish of your choice of meatball, a sauce, a side salad and mystery side of fresh vegetables. It’s a mystery because the chef chooses which vegetable to serve as the plate is being made. It’s a dish of true inspiration. If you’re feeling frisky, add an order of The Family Jewels on top of your sauce main dish – a cheeky choice of a fried egg.

One of the most appealing elements of the dining experience is the ordering process. Guests can write on the menu, seriously! The laminated bill of fare, accompanied by markers, allows you mark off your food selections for ease and convenience.

The day I visited, the special was Buffalo Chicken Meatballs with a Blue Cheese Sauce. Although tempting, as a novice to the meatball fan club, I learned that you could never go wrong with ordering a Smash. My “smashingly” delicious sandwich consisted of a Spicy Pork meatball covered in Classic Tomato Sauce with melted mozzarella cheese. The side salad was a beautiful surprise of arugula greens, fresh apple slices, chives, and a light ‘n sweet vinaigrette dressing which nicely complimented the spicy pork. I enjoyed the peppered pork, but it could have withstood a stronger punch. Portions are not for a glutton, but “just enough.”

Spicy Pork Smash w/ Salad

There was a healthy selection of beverages, which included that day’s special: Honey Rosemary Lemonade.  This was surprisingly brilliant! A refreshing lemonade with an even balance between the honey, rosemary, and lemon with an essence of ginger.

Banana Icecream Sandwich with Gingersnap Cookies

I had to complete my meal with dessert (going the extra distance for my readers) by ordering an ice cream sandwich. I choose the day’s ice cream special, which was Banana, and then selected Ginger Snap Cookies as the outer layers of the sandwich. My goodness… it was nirvana in my mouth! The cookies were right at the goodness point – slightly firm on the outside and soft in the middle. The homemade banana ice cream’s ingredients reminded me of apple pie with bananas. Simply wonderful!

The Meatball Shop is extremely affordable. Nothing on the menu was over $10. What a find!

As a neighborhood favorite, which does not take itself too seriously, The Meatball Shop, is a keeper. Its décor is a great juxtaposition between a humbled dinning room with walls lined with old black and white family portraits and country style furniture, and the more modern effect of low sleek lighting, bo-ho chic staff, and the focal point of the modern wine display. There’s even a sizable chalkboard listing the daily wine specials.

Service is efficient, yet there is often a wait for a table. Reservations are not taken, but if you are willing to wait, you will not be disappointed.

There are plenty of balls of meat to go around! The Meatball Shop serves in three locations:

  1. Lower East Side – *84 Stanton St., 212-982-8895
  2. West Village – 64 Greenwich Ave., 212-982-7815
  3. Williamsburg, Brooklyn – 170 Bedford Ave., 718-551-0520

Budget Break Down:

Entrée: $ 8

Drink: $ 3 (non-special drinks are a lesser charge)

Dessert: $ 5

Total w/ tax and tip: $17.50

Other Tidbits:

  • Draws a crowd – typical wait time is 25 minutes depending on time and day
  • Vegetarian friendly
  • Community style seating
  • Take Out available
  • Open late night
  • Payment Accepted: Cash, Visa, Master Card, and American Express

* The Lower East Side location was reviewed by Canny Candi.


Open-Face Chicken Pita w/ Homemade Pesto Sauce & Mozzarella

Makes one serving


 – Mozzarella cheese
– Flatbread or pita bread for serving
– 2 cilantro leaves (garnish)

Chicken Mixture
– 1.5 pounds of boneless chicken breast
– 4 tablespoons of dry oregano
– Half a teaspoon of salt
–  Half a teaspoon of pepper
– 2 cloves of garlic (grounded)
– 1.5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
– Half cup of vinegar
Homemade Pesto
     – 5 sprigs of fresh basil
– 2 sprigs of fresh parsley
– 3 cloves of garlic
– 4 ounces of grated parmesan
– 2.5 ounces of Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  1.  In a large bowl, combine the chicken, salt, pepper, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and vinegar.
  2.  Continue to toss until the chicken is well coated.
  3. Fully coat each chicken breast with dry oregano so that the dry rub does not loosen during frying.
  4. Heat a medium sauté pan on medium high until it is warm enough to fry the chicken.
  5. When the pan is fully heated, add chicken breast.
  6. Fry the chicken, continually turning the breasts until each side is a golden brown.

Pesto Instructions:

  1. In a food processor, add the basil leaves, parsley, garlic cloves, parmesan cheese, and extra virgin olive oil.
  2.  Repeatedly pulse the food processor until the pesto is fully blended and is of a thickened sauce consistency. If a food processor is not available, finely chop and mix the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Heat a small sauté pan with a non-stick spray to toast the pita.
  4.  Slice the chicken lengthwise in half-inch strips.
  5. Slice some mozzarella cheese, two slices per pita is sufficient.
  6. Place slices of mozzarella on the pita and dress with the homemade pesto sauce.
  7. Add chicken strips.
  8. Garnish with fresh cilantro as desired.


Recipe provided by Brandon Marrero

Goodness is Coming Your Way

Dine with haute fashion models, top designers, and celebrities this weekend! Too good to be true? Not at all! Out of the ‘goodness’ of her heart, celebrity model Elettra Wiedemann’s pop-up restaurant, Goodness, has returned during New York Fashion Week 2012. The temporary lunch lounge (notable DJs included) will provide healthy, satisfying dishes at fashionable prices.

The menu offers la carte choices or a prix fixe option for $35. Yes it’s looks like a splurge, but with the prix fixe you are offered an appetizer, main course, and dessert for the set price. When you think about it, it’s a smart indulgence.

There’s no exclusivity here. More than likely walk-ins are welcome, but I recommend reservations to be safe.

I had the pleasure of meeting Elettra and she is as sweet as can be! I have no doubt the dishes have her seal of approval and live up the eatery’s namesake. P.S. Iron Chef Mario Batali kicks off opening day! Goodness is here from today, February 11 – 14 (11 am – 3 pm) at the Museum of Art and Design.

Visit for more details:


Yesterday on TODAY

So, I was on the set of the TODAY Show yesterday to observe one of the cooking segments. Owner of SD26 Restaurant and Wine Bar, Marisa May, gave a great unconventional spin to Valentine’s Day. Her take: You don’t need a Valentine for the festive occasion. Throw a chic cocktail party for your best buds and serve these easy-to-prepare fares*:

  • Shrimp skewers with passion fruit
  • Tramezzini with mortadella and roasted peppers
  • Tramezzini with spinach and mozzarella
  • SD26 and Marisa May’s Torta di Ricotta and Nutella (a decadent chocolate cake with a Nutella icing)
  • MM’s Hibiskiss (a Pomegranate Juice based cocktail)

Check out these pictures and a link to the video.

Marisa May with hosts Tamron Hall and Al Roker
Marisa May, owner of SD26, in the Today Show kitchen

* All recipes are available on the TODAY Show link (below the video)

Want to visit SD 26? Go ahead! I would strongly urge you to partake in anything with white truffle (a rare French, delicate, white mushroom.) Just a note, SD 26 is definitely a “splurge surge” candidate as its worthy offerings exceed the Canny Candi repertoire. If you have had an excellent payday, it is imperative that you try:

  • Bufala mozzarella appetizer offered with golden beets, roasted red onion and arugula oil
  • Uovo – a soft egg yolk filled raviolo with truffled butter (a must for those who enjoy sunny side up eggs)

TODAY Show video:

Restaurant website: