If you follow the blog closely, you’d know that I am a rather ardent fan of a classic meatball sub.A seemingly simple affair, there is a subtle art to the perfection of a meatball sandwich, and I dedicated an entire blog post singing the praises of Polito’s in South Bend last year.
Respectable meatball sandwiches, however, seem to elude the entire country West of the Mississippi and I have yet to find one suitable to the palette in Texas. A trip to New York came with a handful of culinary certainties, and a proper meatball sub was at the top of that list.
Now you can find a meatball sub on just about any street corner in Manhattan, and though certainly delicious, they are hardly distinguishable. But in the lower east side, a mere two blocks from Katz Deli, lies a place that specializes in these spherical delights. The Meatball Shop on Stanton Street is appropriately named because they serve nothing but meatballs and I salute the laser focus of their business plan. Given my energetic zeal for the dish, I decided to put these experts to the test.
There is some variety to be found at The Meatball Shop, and literally dozens of different combinations to choose from.It’s like the Baskin Robbins of meatballs.They have about five different kinds of meatballs ranging from traditional beef to lamb, as well as a half dozen different kinds of sauce.Furthermore, you can order them “naked”, on a bed of pasta, on a slider or in a standard hero type sandwich.
Being a staunch traditionalist, and wanting an apt comparison to other meatball purveyors, I ordered a typical beef meatball sub with classic tomato sauce.Out of sheer curiosity I also tossed in an order for a spicy pork meatball slider.The traditional sub was a classic delight with tender meatballs filling the crunchy baguette and oozing with reams of sauce and cheese.While I wished they had stuffed a few more of those house made meatballs into the roll, it was still pure gooey delight.The spicy pork slider lived up to its reputation, as the heavy red pepper notes came blazing to life and sent me reaching for the water glass with each bite to quell the flames.
Finishing off the meal, we talked ourselves into one of their enticing ice cream sandwiches.Similar to the robust meatball menu, The Meatball Shop offers a handful of different homemade cookies that can be paired with various ice creams for a scrumptious ice cream sandwich dessert.After considerable deliberation, some lively debate and extensive polling of the table next to us, we settled on this little peanut butter and chocolate delight that was quickly descended upon like a pack of rabid hyenas.
In the end the Meatball Shop was a worthy stop for my meatball sub fix in New York. I like the simplicity of their idea, and solute their dedication to the subtle craft of the perfect meatball. Now if they could only move to a roomier location, I wouldn’t have to rub elbows after each bite with the other patrons crammed in next to me. The lady next to me was rather fortunate I didn’t harpoon a few meatballs off her plate while she chattered away distractedly. Husky fellows like myself need our space to eat, and contact only slows me down…
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