Vegetarian Meatballs in Williamsburg

Last night I went out to dinner at the Meatball Shop in Williamsburg. I feel a bit unoriginal writing about the meatball shop, since I first read about it in blogland (here, and then here).  I am not a huge fan of meatballs, but after reading so many rave reviews, I was intrigued.  I also read that there are ridiculously long waits at the original Lower East Side location, so when my friend invited me to meet her in Brooklyn, I decided it would be good time to try their newer location.  Relatedly, sometimes I forget that Williamsburg is only 10 minutes by subway from Union Square and provides a nice change of scenery, and always amusing people watching.

Williamsburg building with an owl on top (I think it was fake).

Rooftop owl

We arrived around 7:15 PM and there was no wait, but the place was packed.  My initial thought was that the décor was cute, but the acoustics were bad.  I was impressed with the ordering system (you checked off your order on a laminated menu and then gave it to your server).  The food was served suspiciously fast, but then again it’s a single specialty item restaurant, so I guess it doesn’t take them long to prepare.  I ordered the “naked balls,” which were described as, “Four Meatballs Served with your choice of sauce and a piece of Focaccia Bread.”  You could chose from five types of meatballs (classic beef, spicy pork, chicken, vegetable, daily special) and five types of sauce (classic tomato, spicy meat, mushroom gravy, parmesan cream, and pesto).  I selected the vegetarian balls with pesto ($7) and ordered a side of steamed spinach ($4).  My friend ordered the vegetarian balls with classic tomato sauce, served on pasta.

unphotogenic meatballs and spinach

We were both disappointed with our food as everything was very, very salty.  Even the steamed spinach tasted salty!  While I liked the pesto sauce, the meatballs themselves were definitely not one of the better vegetarian entrees I’ve eaten.  We were initially given a carafe of water, but it was taken away once we finished it, thus leaving us with no water for the rest of our meal.  I asked for more water and it was eventually brought in a glass, but no more carafe (apparently they can cook meatballs faster than they can pour water…humm).

The best part of the meal (and almost redeeming factor) was the dessert, which in my excitement I forgot to photograph.  My friend and I split an ice cream sandwich ($4) and we got to choose two cookies and an ice cream flavor (cookie options = chocolate chip, pb, brownie, oatmeal raisin, ginger snap; ice cream flavors = chocolate, vanilla, expresso, mint, caramel, and daily special of pb).  We selected a chocolate chip cookie, brownie cookie, and peanut butter ice cream.  The ice cream was delicious and the cookies were good too.

Overall the meal was OK, but the dessert was the only part I would want to repeat.  If I ever go back to the Meatball Shop, I would probably try the classic beef meatballs, because maybe that’s what the hype’s all about?  I feel like I missed something.

The Meatball Shop/170 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn/(718) 551-0520 OR 84 Stanton Street/New York, NY/(212) 982-8895


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