Seems like New York City is going mad for meatballs. In a matter of weeks, the Meatball Shop opened its latest outpost in the West Village, the Meatball Factory launched, and takeout spot Polpette began peddling its orbs in Park Slope adjacent to Fornino. For good reason — who doesn’t love them some balls? We recently stopped into Polpette and sampled all four of the meaty treats on hand. (There’s a veggie version, too, but an eggplant-and-mixed bean meatball just doesn’t qualify as a meatball in our book. Sorry.)
Meatballs can be had one of four ways: You can get three balls over salad for $7.95; two balls crushed on a roll for $4.95; four balls on a seeded bun for $7.95; or any three balls with sauce for $5.95. Extra balls $2 apiece. We went à la carte with sauce so we could sample the goods in their purest glory
To begin, the good: The Day After Thanksgiving meatball (above) contains ground turkey and cornbread stuffing, topped with thick, home-style gravy. The meatball was tender and moist, and did taste similar to a T-Day spread, minus the cranberry sauce. These would be great with a big plate of creamy mashed potatoes on the side.
Another winner was the Porco Due meatball, which topped ground pork balls with a chunky fennel sausage and tomato cream sauce. Really, you can’t go wrong with pork topped with pork. Ideal for a sandwich or on top of pasta.
Now, the not as good: The classic Josephine’s Famous beef meatball was fine, though somewhat mild and not as interesting as the previous two meatballs. If getting this one, you might want to add some mozzarella and/or Parmigiano ($1 each)
And finally, the chicken piccata. The ground-chicken ball came slicked with the classic lemon-butter-parsley sauce. While the sauce itself was good (though slightly runny), the texture of the meatball was off, simultaneously dense and chalky. It paired oddly with the topping, too.
If you’re a diehard Meatball Shop fan, you might not be a convert to Polpette, but then again, Polpette is in Park Slope, while the Meatball Shop has yet to make it to Southern Brooklyn. We’d come back for the Thanksgiving and pork meatballs, though maybe not for the others. And if we were really, really hungry, we might even try the bocce ball, a Scotch egg-like concoction that stuffs a hard boiled egg inside a giant beef ball the size of a baby’s head (OK, a preemie baby), served over salad for $7.95; it looks kind of amazeballs.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 29, 2011