Chances are, if you tried to order “naked balls” in any other dining establishment, the management would swiftly and (maybe) politely ask you to vacate the premises. Don’t even try your luck with “the family jewels.”
But at The Meatball Shop, a self-professed “fuss free kinda joint” with locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, cheeky orders like this are only the beginning of the fun.
Middle Chip and I found ourselves lunching at their Stanton Street storefront this past weekend before heading to a matinee performance of Wit.
(Slight digression: If you are anywhere near New York City and have a chance to see this play, OHMYGOSH go. Cynthia Nixon [yes, the Sex and the City Cynthia Nixon] is absolutely brilliant and if you’re like me and love languages, literature, and witty dialogue, the play will have you totally captivated. End digression.)
We both chose to order heroes ($9), which include three meatballs topped with your chosen combination of sauce and cheese. Using its childishly fun dry-erase menu cards (don’t pretend you’re not having fun filling them out), The Meatball Shop offers diners a choice of classic beef, spicy pork, chicken, vegetable, or a daily special for its meatballs, and these can be paired in seemingly endless combinations with classic tomato, spicy meat, mushroom gravy, parmesan cream, pesto, and the daily special sauces. Top with either provolone or mozzarella cheese, and you’re in business.
My hero (pictured above) contained spicy pork meatballs in the spicy meat sauce (clearly I was feeling flavorful) with provolone, and was served on a whole wheat baguette (you could also opt for white). The side salad, which comes with the meal, was a mixture of arugula and crisp, sweet apples tossed in a light vinaigrette.
The meatballs packed heat without being overwhelming, and they were the perfect consistency–soft while still retaining their shape and slight outer crust. Even the baguette added to the symphony of this sandwich. The bread was fresh and crusty, and the innards soaked up the (generously applied) sauce to perfection.
The Meatball Shop also offers sliders (three mini sandwiches), smashes (their version of a meatball sloppy joe on a brioche bun. I ordered this at their Brooklyn location over the summer and was equally satisfied–but be prepared to get messy!), salads (topped with the meatballs), and the aforementioned “naked balls” (four meatballs and sauce served with focaccia bread). If you’re feeling feisty, you can also order your meal with “the family jewels”–a fried egg–for an extra dollar.
So go chow down, but don’t say I didn’t warn you–try not to blush too hard when that waiter explains the careful shaping and sizing of the establishment’s balls.
The Meatball Shop
84 Stanton St.
(other locations on Greenwich Ave. in Manhattan and Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn)
New York, NY 10002