Whether you know it or not, the meatball plays an iconic role in history — especially kid history. Perhaps you were obsessed with “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” when you were a kid. Or maybe the other camp kids couldn’t get you to stop singing “On Top of Spaghetti,” the song about the sad fate of the once-delicious meatball that was sneezed upon and rolled off the table, turning into mush. Maybe you were so obsessed with meatballs that just like Adam Sandler, you named your dog Meatball (perhaps he was inspired by the meatball-doling grandma in “The Wedding Singer”). Or maybe you were just the one in the family who always cleaned his plate of every single meatball from the local Italian deli.
Well, bully for you, because tomorrow March 9 is National Meatball Day. What better way to celebrate than with a mountain of spaghetti topped with a couple of tomato drenched meatballs? When someone mentions meatballs this traditional childhood Italian rendition is usually what comes to mind, but meatballs are all grown up these days, and come in so many shapes, sizes and flavors. If you’re looking for a place to celebrate in North Brooklyn, we’ve got you covered.
The Meatball Shop, 170 Bedford Avenue. This beloved Williamsburg joint is the most obvious choice, and it has a prime location on Bedford Avenue. They have some great choices—including vegetarian meatballs! There are daily specials on offer and they have a “pick and choose” style of ordering that allows meatball lovers to customize their orders. Choose from five different meatball options, six different sauces, sliders, salad, hero, or naked. These guys really love balls.
Motorino, 139 Broadway. Motorino has been touted as some of the best pizza available in Brooklyn and their meatballs have a pretty strong fan base as well. At this Neopolitan spot, meatballs are served up as antipasti – braised with tomato sauce and served with pecorino and basil—or as a topping for pizza. The appetizer size is generous, with three large meatballs, and the pizza portions for meatballs are cut down so you can actually fit a slice in your mouth.
Lorimer Market, 620 Lorimer Street. If you’re looking for a cheap, on-the-go, reliable standby, this might be your best bet. The Filomena sandwich is a traditional meatball sub named after the chef’s mother. Chef Jerry V. is an ICE alumnus and winner of the 2014 Meatball Slapdown contest in Brooklyn. Lorimer Market also offers baby meatballs with spaghetti or layered in their lasagna.
Paulie Gee’s, 60 Greenpoint Avenue. The most eccentric meatball on this list, and possibly in all of New York comes from local favourite Paulie Gee’s. The Jackie Green pizza, one of several vegan pizzas available at Paulie Gee’s comes adorned with vegan meatballs made from green jackfruit. Fans say it has a surprisingly meat-like texture and smoky taste. It is definitely worth a try!
Krolewskie Jadlo, 694 Manhattan Avenue. For a Polish take on the dish, try this quirky spot marked by two large knights standing outside. Their fare is hearty, comforting and boasts large portions. Krolewskie Jadlo’s venison meatballs are served with a wild mushroom truffle sauce and garden dumplings. Not a dollop of tomato sauce in sight.
Ria Bella, 1049 Manhattan Avenue. Ria Bella is a relatively new neighborhood favorite, and is mostly known for its pizza. But don’t stop at a meatball pie here — go for broke by sharing a dish of baked beef meatballs, sauteed onions, garlic, and pecorino romano cheese with a gravy boat of tomato basil sauce, or a meatball panini with tomato basil sauce and a cheese trifecta of melted mozzarella, ricotta, and pecorino romano. You’ll need to borrow Nonna’s wheelchair to roll your meatball-shaped body home.
Faro, 436 Jefferson Street. Tied up on the 9th but still want to get your meatball fix? If you can make it until Sunday, check out Faro in Bushwick. Their Sunday menu differs from what’s on offer the rest of the week and has more family-style offerings, including meatballs served with polenta and fonduta. If you’re concerned about where your food comes from, this is a great restaurant to visit. The meat, sourced from Autumn’s Harvest Farm, is organic and certified animal welfare approved.
Happy National Meatball Day, Ballers! Enjoy your spherically-shaped feast and tweet or Instagram us some pics tomorrow so we can drool with you from our office desks. And don’t forget to make like The Tramp, and roll your last meatball over to the one you love.