When you think late night bites in Manhattan, you may be inclined to grab a slice or nosh on some pub food with a pint in tow, or maybe grab wings dripping with a colossal amount of hot sauce. All those things have their place in the realm of late night grub, but for a unique and homey experience, you may want to try The Meatball Shop. Started by two young guys, Michael Chernow and Daniel Holzman, they've made their meatball extravaganza on elevated "ball" recipes. Executive Chef Holzman cut his niche in the culinary world working at Le Bernandin at the tender age of 15, while general manager and co-owner Chernow spent time behind bars in New York before opening Woo Lae Oak on Mercer Street in New York.
Nestled on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, The Meatball Shop has elegant and yet simple décor, large communal tables, and a rustic, white, tiled bar lining the room, almost resembling someone's comfy home. It’s packed constantly until closing time at 4 a.m., Sunday through Wednesday, and is open Thursday through Saturday until 2 am. Order your “balls” on a novel place card with an easy to wipe out felt-tip pen, and hand it to the serve. Then sit back and wait for some great comfort food.
Pick your own combinations of meatball, sauce, and vehicle to carry it, like Heritage Pork balls with hot cherry peppers paired with classic tomato sauce or mushroom gravy. The options are endless! Try the sliders, a plump little ball of beef, pork, or chicken stacked on a bun with Parmesan cream, spicy meat, or pesto. There's also a three ball “al forno” baguette — a crusty baked white or wheat roll with, again, your choice of balls and sauce. Or get a “Smash” — two balls on a toasted brioche with either mozzarella or provolone. Delicious!
The Meatball Shop is loud and popular so be prepared for a wait. But once you're seated to a late-night plate of steaming meatballs you’ll soon forget about that and just about everything else.