After a very long and intense week, nothing better than some balls, I guess. And that is what we did a couple of Saturdays ago. We decided to get ballsy and went to this cute and delicious establishment. Although we had to give our name and wait for a bit, the wait was not too bad and we were seated, a party of five, in less than five minutes. But then, it was past 2.00pm, a time when the lunch crowd seems to wane and the dinner one is not out yet.
I immediately loved the clean, white space, with big windows facing Stanton Street. A nice wood bar with white tiles sits to the right, while there are about six romantic two-seaters along the left wall, with old photographs above, gazing at diners from long time past. In the center, there is a long wood communal table with little flower arrangements, that takes almost the whole length of the room and where our party was sat. The crowd was a mix of cool Lower East Siders and some tourists, and the vibe was very chilled. Fantastic 80s playlist if I must add. They do have a high chair (only one) and the space is not that ample, so I would suggest no stroller or a super compact foldable one.
The menu itself was a source of amusement for the girls: it’s a laminated menu, where you mark your choices. It can be “naked balls”: just 4 plain meatballs (and you get a choice of meat and sauce) with parmigiano and a piece of focaccia, or you can go fancy with your balls, with a choice of adding risotto, polenta or spaghetti, among others. They can also serve them as sliders, heroes or meatball smash and they do have some brunch options (all with balls, of course!). The girls ordered the beef balls with pesto sauce (Little Sous Chef) and the classic tomato sauce (La Petite Wasabi), Dad Vivant ordered the naked spicy pork balls with spicy meat sauce, grandpa got the kitchen sink spicy pork balls and I got the Benedict with spicy pork. All of them were delicious, and tasted even better with some wine.
However, I feel that what the girls liked best was dessert: the DYI ice-cream sandwich, which offers 6 different choices of both cookies and ice-cream. The rest is up to how many permutations you can come up with. So a chocolate-chip cookie with chocolate ice-cream was their choice and for the grown-ups, a digestif: old fashioned for dad and grandpa and a Buzzed Lebowski (their version of the classic White Russian) for me. As a die hard Lebowski fan, I couldn’t leave the place without trying this Caucasian, in the parlance of our times. It was a good drink, and thorough.
The single restroom is located in the back, on the left had side. It is huge for NYC standards, and it has an antique rustic look, with black and white tiled flooring and old photographs on the walls. As ample as it is, it doesn’t have a changing table.
Overall, a great experience both for the little ones and for the young at heart. I believe that the wait can be long, but it is totally worth it. And you can always shop around cute little boutiques and artsy galleries while you wait.
The Meatball Shop
84 Stanton Street
New York, NY 10002
Sunday – Thursday: 11:30am – 2:00am
Friday – Saturday: 11:30am -4:00am