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the sweet scoop
For home cooks who don’t own The Meatball Shop Cookbook yet, it’s time to get on the ball.
After rolling out three successful restaurants in New York City, The Meatball Shop’s Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow are sharing the secrets behind their award-winning dishes with meatball lovers everywhere. Their debut cookbook is filled with fun, witty narrative, helpful tips and nearly 100 approachable, comforting recipes that are both flavorful and easy to execute—what more could you ask for?
With Super Bowl Sunday this weekend (go Giants!), now’s the perfect time to give the Mini Buffalo Chicken Balls recipe a whirl. For this year’s party, bench the expected plate of hot wings and serve these spicy and tangy, melt-in-your-mouth meatballs instead. Pair your balls with creamy homemade Blue Cheese Dressing (you’ll never go back to store bought!) for a dish that’s sure to be a game day winner, even if your team isn’t.
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Chef Dave Martin knows how to play ball. As demonstrated when the Top Chef alum debuted his meatball-centric menu to an eager crowd during this weekend’s preview of The Meatball Factory, which officially opens on Tuesday, October 25th.
Commanding the corner of East 14th Street and 2nd Avenue, this warm, rustic bistro boasts a cozy interior with dark wooden tables, exposed brick walls, floor to ceiling windows and a sizable bar area. The menu of upscale comfort food centers around an extensive selection of house-ground gourmet meatballs, including flavorful rounds of braised pork, short ribs, chorizo, duck, lamb, turkey and veggie. Proteins pair up with eight savory sauces, such as green curry peanut, black truffle cream, spiced up vodka and fire roasted marinara, and fully customizable combos allow diners to curb any meaty craving—you can have your balls on a challah roll, over housemade pasta or crispy, thin-crust pizza, or poutine-style atop fresh cut Idaho fries coated in melted cheese.
So, what makes The Meatball Factory stand out? “Simple, high quality, fun food that’s affordable,” Martin shared. Nothing on the menu is over $15 and no bottle of wine is priced over $40. Yet, the quality and flavors are top notch. Take the Turducken meatball, made from a house blend of La Frieda turkey, Bell & Evans chicken, Hudson Valley Farms duck confit, sage & allspice. Martin prides himself on prime sourcing and uses his own line of handcrafted rubs, sauces and seasonings to tastefully elevate each dish.
While meatballs are the star here, you’ll also find dairy-free and gluten-free options, seasonal salads, vegetable sides, and a tempting array of sweet treats and ice cream sundaes to round out the menu. The ‘Thai This’ pizza—a mouthwatering medley of ground Turducken, luscious green curry peanut sauce, Thai chiles and Grana Padano sprinkled over delicate cracker dough—is a must-try. For the ultimate indulgence, order up Dave’s World Famous Black Truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese—a decadent breadcrumb-topped infusion of slow cooked cream, shallots, brandy, sherry, truffles, fontina, thyme and oregano. And make sure not to overlook the shaker of red chili spiced agave on your table. When splashed onto entrées, it adds complexity, depth and quickly becomes addicting. To wash it all down, belly up to the bar for reasonably priced vino, along with 18 taps and 20 bottles of craft beer.
With an evident passion for his craft, chef Martin masterfully pairs new flavors with comfort food staples, creating dishes that you’ll want to savor again and again. And since The Meatball Factory rolls out endless choices and combinations aplenty, be sure to come hungry and prepare to have a ball.
The Meatball Factory, 231 Second Avenue at 14th Street, 212.260.8015
Thursday night, meatballs reigned supreme at the fourth annual NYC Wine & Food Festival kickoff event, Meatball Madness. Food Network’s Italian beauty Giada De Laurentiis played host to dozens of the city’s best chefs who rolled out their version of the perfect bite.
Nearly 1,000 meatball maniacs flooded into SoHo’s 82 Mercer to sample saucy spheres and sliders made from blends of beef, pork, veal, rabbit, goat, seitan and lobster. Styles ranged from traditional Italian polpette with tomato gravy (Donatella Arpaia’s braised veal version was delizioso) to exotic Thai-inspired goat meatballs with boiled peanuts, tatsoi and panang curry from Kin Shop’s Harold Dieterle. Giada got sweet and smoky with mozzarella, fig and honey, Maialino’s Nick Anderer dished out rabbit smothered in creamy pecorino ‘whiz’ over rapini, and Osteria Morini chef Michael White’s melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto and mortadella version was another standout.
Judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Dana Cowin and Lee Anne Wong crowned The Little Owl’s Joey Campanaro the night’s big winner for his grandma’s gravy meatball slider with pickled fennel. The crowd also casted their votes and The Meatball Shop’s Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow snagged the coveted People’s Choice Award for their steak ‘n’ bacon cheddar balls with mushroom gravy on a buttermilk biscuit.
Classic Campari cocktails, a selection of vino and sparkling San Pellegrino refreshed partygoers, while A Voce provided sweet relief with scrumptious chocolate cannoli over roasted cherries. Meatball Madness certainly started off the Festival in style and everyone seemed to have a ball—while devouring dozens!