Sounds like a fun adventure no? Since I first heard about The Meatball Shop on the Lower East Side, I’ve been dying to try it! I’ve heard of their fun atmosphere, delicious sides, and of course, tasty and juicy balls! I’d also heard wait times for this tiny restaurant could be up to 90 minutes. Now, I’ve been known to wait a good 2 hours for pizza in Toronto, but was I prepared to do the same for some plain old meatballs? Well luckily, I didn’t have to worry about this as my dining partner and I arrived shortly after 6 and were seated right away. But let me tell you, after eating there…I would definitely wait for these balls!
Ordering at The Meatball Shop is part of the fun! You get a dry erase, laminated menu and a big black marker and you make your dinner selections by checking off what you’d like. They always have beef, pork, chicken, and vegetarian meatballs and a rotating special ball and a variety of different sauces to go with them. You can choose to have your balls plain (or “naked” as they put it), on a bun, as sliders, on a salad, and you can choose a variety of sides to go under or…on the side. I wanted to really taste the meatballs so I went with the naked chicken balls with classic tomato sauce. My partner in meatball heaven went with the sliders so she could try a variety of the balls. For our sides, we went with broccoli, the market salad, and the most delicious, creamiest, cheesiest polenta I’ve ever had….it was so good it almost stole the show from the balls.
The chicken was made of ground chicken thighs and was perfectly seasoned. The balls had such a nice texture to them and went very well with that creamy polenta you see peeking out the side of my pics. The broccoli was also cooked very well…not mushy like some broccoli can be. The salad was also nice….but the stars of the show were definitely the balls and creamy white corny goodness polenta. Also…a very reasonable dinner. You can get four big balls and a side $12. A steal in NY!
After the big balls (okay, enough with the ball talk!) we were craving something sweet. Or I should say I had already mapped out the route to an ice cream shop I’ve been dying to try and gave my dining partner no choice but to join me. Don’t worry…after we stepped into The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop (yes, that is the actual name), she did not regret accompanying me.
This shop started as an ice cream truck, but became so popular they had to open a store. I’ve seen them on Eat St. and The Best Thing I Ever Ate and have been biding my time until I could get a taste…and tonight was FINALLY the night! I already knew what I was ordering…their signature cone…The Salty Pimp. This was no easy decision…their ice cream toppings range from blood orange balsamic vinegar, to wasabi peas, to olive oil and sea salt (don’t worry…I got a frequent visitor card so I will definitely be back!) But I’ve heard so much about this salty, sweet cone, I felt I had no choice. First of all, their soft serve ice cream is, and this is a bold statement, the best I’ve ever had. My cone was coated with caramel sauce, topped with sea salt, and then dipped in chocolate. The best surprise was as I got down to the cone, the cone was also coated with caramel sauce and sea salt. I can definitely see why this cone was on the best thing I ever ate.
My meatball (and now ice cream!) loving dinner date went with The Gobbler, a cup of their vanilla soft serve ice cream, topped with pumpkin butter, maple syrup, pie pieces and other delicious flavors that remind you of pumpkin pie. It was also quite good but very sweet. Next time I’m there, I really want to try their fig balsamic and olive oil sea salt combo, or their bea arthur, a cone topped with caramel sauce and nilla wafer cookies, or their vanilla cone topped with pretzels and dipped in chocolate and then smothered in chocolate chips….I guess I’ll be back a few more times!