BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
On a Wednesday night, The Meatball Shop is packed. In fact, nearly every night of the week The Meatball Shop is packed. The Meatball Shop has one simple concept: meatballs. With options, (but not too many) you can mix and match your favorite meats and sauces to create your ultimate comfort food meal for minimal cost in a trendy Lower East Side restaurant.
After our 15 minute wait outside the crowded restaurant, my guest and I entered the homey low-lit restaurant complete with vintage photographs of someone’s family lining the walls. Our ditsy waitress was nice enough as she explained the special for the night, a turkey meatball served Thanksgiving-style with stuffing and cranberry sauce and when asked for her opinion, gladly told us which balls and sauces topped her list.
We ended up ordering the turkey meatball special and the sliders ($3 ea) (a good way to try a variety of flavors). Our dinner came out quickly, and we dug in. The turkey meatballs with homemade cranberry sauce were everything that Thanksgiving should be. The tart cranberries with the mellow meatballs, creamy gravy, and fresh thyme put a smile on our faces as we were aching for just one more bite. The sliders, a single meatball with a bit of sauce soaked up by the buns that housed them were a bit dry, the standout of the three being the classic beef meatball with a simple tomato sauce. Although I was wishing for more sauce, the quality of the locally sourced ingredients and the great thought put into each detail of, not only the menu but also the décor was as evident as the owners were, manning the bar and the takeout counter.
For dessert we tried the homemade chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich ($4) with house-made vanilla ice cream. The simple sandwich alone would keep me coming back to The Meatball Shop with the flavors and textures being on point and not too sweet. Even though it may have not been the most practical to eat, the cookies being much too hard for the ice cream, the sandwich was an absolute delight.