64 Greenwich Ave
(between 7th Ave & 11th St)
New York, NY 10011
(also 2 other locations in Lower East Side and Williamsburg)
I was never particularly fond of meatballs before living in NYC. Meatballs always reminded me of dry and limp cafeteria spaghetti – not exactly something I would seek out. But after moving to NYC, I found that the Meatball Shop was the talk of the town. As a very open-minded eater, I was eager to change my mind about meatballs and checked out the Meatball Shop as soon as I could. The first time I went, we waited 2 hours for a table… don’t worry, this was before they had opened any other locations. I’ve been to all three locations now and will say that the original Lower East Side one has been lacking in quality since the opening of the other two locations… not sure why. The West Village and Williamsburg locations are great and much bigger.
Okay I know, I should really start with a meatball photo but one of my favorite things about the Meatball Shop is their market salads. They switch it up… every week maybe? The one pictured above is probably my favorite: butter lettuce, almonds, radicchio, sunchoke, clementines, and sherry vinaigrette. If you think about each ingredient… they are all very intensely flavored and so the combination could either go really wrong, or so so right. The butter lettuce was soooo tender and leafy! I now know why they are called butter lettuce because in their prime state, they really feel like they melt in your mouth… like butter. Almonds are always a welcomed addition to anything… it gave the salad a great crunch and nutty context. Radicchio is slightly bitter and almost a little spicy sometimes. I actually barely tasted them in this salad but I’m sure they added to the complexity of the salad. This was my first time having sunchoke and wow, was it amazing. Sunchokes are knobbly and funny looking… kind of like twisted ginger roots. They were boiled or maybe blanched just so that they had the consistency of a very chewy potato. They were slightly creamy… and had slight sweet and nutty undertones. They went very well with the almonds and butter lettuce. The clementines were the sweetest I’ve had (nothing like those awful sour and dry ones you find in most supermarkets) and the sherry vinaigrette just bonded all the flavors together. I. LOVE. THIS. SALAD.
Here is a close-up of a classic beef ball with spicy meat sauce. See how juicy and tender it looks on the inside? You have the option of picking the type of ball you want and the type of sauce (see menu photo on top). Having tried all of the balls and almost in every ball-sauce combination possible, I find that the classic beef ball and spicy meat sauce is my favorite.