As Our Man Sietsema has noted, the Meatball Shop makes a mean meatball hero. It’s undeniably a thing of considerable beauty and heft, but most likely doesn’t leave much room for dessert. And that’s a pity, because the Meatball Shop is essentially a very lavish front for what is one of the best ice cream sandwich operations in Manhattan.
The sandwiches, which are made in-house by co-owner Michael Chernow’s wife, Donna, are obviously the work of someone with a deep understanding of the structural engineering that distinguishes an exceptional ice cream sandwich from one that is merely edible.
Chernow clearly respects the importance of ice cream to cookie ratio, as well as the necessity of building the sandwich from components that are neither too soft nor too hard. Her $4 brownie cookie and mint ice cream sandwich strikes exactly the right balance: the cookies have a crackly exterior and dense, tender crumb pebbled with walnuts, and the generous scoop of mint ice cream is just firm enough to provide a few minutes’ lead time before it starts to drip. The ice cream is also bracingly minty, and contains flecks of actual mint leaves. Taken together with the cookies, it’s like a Thin Mint that’s been given repeated collagen implants.
The Meatball Shop’s ice cream sandwiches are neither farcically large nor insultingly small — they can nest comfortably in the average palm, and are filling enough to merit a pair of relaxed-fit, unbuttoned jeans on the Fat Pants scale. They make an excellent mid-afternoon snack or, in a pinch, a convincing lunch replacement. So while the meatballs may be the main attraction, try to save room for dessert.
The Meatball Shop
84 Stanton Street