Vegetarian Delights of NYC: The Meatball Shop's Veggie Meatballs
Although the Meatball Shop makes its carnivorous allegiances abundantly clear, the restaurant shows a surprising amount of love for the vegetarians.
Given that the vast majority of their clientele is there to chow down on reconstituted animal parts, it would have been easy for the shop's owners to either ignore the meat-averse altogether or offer them only a token orb of pallid soy protein. Instead, they've chosen to give vegetarians a fantastic meatball of their own.
Ordered a la carte or as part of a hero or slider, the balls ($7 for an order of four) are comprised of actual, identifiable vegetables, pulses, and nuts: We detected green lentils, mushrooms, walnuts, and what may have been finely shredded kale. While their flavor is wonderful -- rich, savory, and faintly nutty -- their chief virtue is their texture, which is firm but pliable, and, thanks to the walnuts and perfectly cooked lentils, full of bite. Or, in other words, meaty.
Drenched in tomato sauce and buried under a drift of Parmesan, the balls come accompanied by a thick finger of focaccia, whose primary purpose is to soak up all the sauce that you'd otherwise be guiltily tempted to wipe up with your fingers. You can also order them with a number of $4 vegetables sides -- we like the kale, which comes pebbled with garlic and seasoned judiciously, and is delicious.
The Meatball Shop 84 Stanton Street 212-982-8895
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