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.

I’ve Gone Loca for San Loco!

While walking in the East Village, my friend Rebecca and I stumbled upon a neon lit sign at the entrance of San Loco, a Mexican comensal (Spanish for eatery). All we could tell from the outside was that it was a local hang out and crowded, which is a good sign. With curiosity and empty tummies, we ventured inside. The aroma of chilli, chipotle, and fresh fried tortillas overtook us. We were greeted by a poster sized menu which offered selections from chips and dips, to various taco creations, bountiful burritos, quesadillas and newly added enchilada options. It seriously took a full ten minutes for us to decide our orders. Finally, I decided to have the Burrito Grande which included: rice, beans, shredded cheddar, diced onions, pico de gallo, with chipotle chicken, and a mild sauce.

Rebecca ordered the burrito as well, but chose beef. To my surprise, she also included Black Bean & Toasted Corn Salsa with Tortilla Chips, and…Sangria! We feasted like queens.

111 Stanton Street (btwn Ludlow and Essex)

We started with the black bean & corn salsa. The pure tasteful ingredients were bright, reflecting the traditional flavors in salsa. The corn was a vibrant yellow accented with cilantro. In my opinion, pico de gallo was the star, as I am a pico fan.  And what is better than Sangria to top off our appetizer? Nothing (aside from a Margarita). Our luscious libation was wonderfully fruity, garnished  with sliced oranges and diced apples, yet kind of strong. Thankfully, we spent more than a hour chatting and eating, so we were able to wait out the affects. Our burritos arrived shortly after. Upon first bite, I could taste every ingredient – it was south of the border bliss. Bold flavors from the beans and rice married very well with the Chipotle Chicken. The B-B-Q sauce for the chicken was the highlight of the dish! Of course, it was a secret recipe, but that secret will keep me coming back for more! This meal was completely filling.

Black Bean and Roasted Corn Salsa
Sangria (Pint)

Ambiance: The music was very eclectic. When we arrived, industrial/ techno music was playing. By the time we left, today’s hits, and even 80’s music had been on the play list. The decor was modest. The white walls housed the menu and there were couches as a dinning/ waiting area for guests. Multiple navy blue and yellow mosaic tiled tables filled the dinning room. The tables were small, so if you order many items, I hope you know how to consolidate!   Although, the furnishings are little, all the attention is funneled into the food. (Can’t complain about that 🙂 )

‘San’ means ‘saint’ in Spanish . The restaurant is appropriately named because I feel San Loco has come to us by heavenly design. Its presence is manifested throughout four locations:

1) Williamsburg, Brooklyn – 160 N. 4th Street (btwn Bedford & Driggs),718-218-8479

2) LES – 124 2nd Avenue (btwn 7th and St. Marks Streets), 212-260-7948

3) LES – 151 Avenue A (btwn 9th and 10th Streets) – 212-982-5653

4) LES – 111 Stanton Street (btwn Ludlow & Essex) – 212-253-7580

Budget Break Down:

  • Burrito and Soda: $10.75
  • Sangria: $3.25 (half price since it was split with a friend)
  • Total w/ tax: $14.00

Other Tidbits:

  • Vegetarian friendly
  • Gets crowded quickly, but a great place to grab a quick bite or catch up with friends
  • Take Out is available
  • All locations have Happy Hour Monday – Friday
  • Williamsburg location has a sports bar theme
  • Payment accepted: Cash, Visa, Master Card, and Discover

* LES – Lower East Side