What’s a better winter season foodie holiday than National Meatball Day on March 9? If you’re homesick for Nonna’s homemade meatballs, get a taste of comfort at these New York City restaurants serving flavorful plates from Italian to Swedish versions of your favorite meatballs. By Sarah Shaker.
Bond Street’s newest gem, Circolo, is serving up fresh Italian fare – like homemade pastas and their already popular Tuscan Meatballs, to rave reviews. This beef, chicken and potato blend is baked then lightly fried for a crispy meatball with a soft, hearty center. This shareable plate is served with three dipping sauces (Salsa Verde with parsley, olive oil and basil, Homemade Mayonnaise and Spicy Tomato Sauce) to please any palate at your table. While there’s a solid wine list, wash down these meatballs with the refreshing Sisco Sour, mixing vodka, lemon, cucumber and sugar for the ultimate summer vacation in a glass.
A dining destination in the heart of Midtown, Lugo offers fresh Italian fare for those looking for a quality meal by the office or when traveling to and from Penn Station. Their huge Meatballs Pomodoro are the perfect way to start your meal, made with a blend of veal, pork and beef – perhaps the holy trinity of meats. These standout balls are one of the best in NYC. And don’t miss out on their homemade hot pulled mozzarella. Cheese lovers can choose from Semplice (sea salt, extra virgin olive oil), Caprese (vine tomatoes, sweet basil, balsamic glaze) and Pepperoncini (sopressata, fire roasted peppers, calamata olives).
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This West Village tapas restaurant serves the city’s best Lamb Meatballs, served with spiced butternut squash foam, toasted sesame seeds and lebne for a Moroccan flair. With over 40 small plates to choose from, Alta’s varied menu makes it tough to only choose a few dishes. When you’re trying to narrow it down to share with your party, don’t miss out on the Braised Short Rib of Beef, Seared Sea Scallops and Grilled Stuffed Grape Leaves. If you really can’t decide, indulge in The Whole Shebang – one of everything on the menu of small plates for $480.
Donatella Arpaia’s restaurant in Chelsea is known for thin crust gourmet pizzas, but she’s also serving her popular Veal Meatballs, available regular or spicy. This homemade interpretation of her mother’s recipe is the winner of New York Wine & Food Festival’s Meatball Madness, a cooking competition amongst some of the country’s top chefs. These veal meatballs are tomato braised and sprinkled with parmigiano for a classic Italian flavor that everyone will love.
Embarrassed to admit the only Swedish meatballs you’ve tried were at your last trip to the Brooklyn IKEA? Get your palate together and head to Red Rooster in Harlem for Helga’s Meatballs – a high-quality version of these savory and sweet balls. Served with buttery mashed potatoes, tart lingonberry preserves and dill-flavored quick pickles, these light and tender meatballs make for a delicious comfort food meal uptown.
This unassuming late night East Village pizzeria is quickly gaining a following of locals, serving more than just slices. Their flavorful Meatball Parmigiana Hero is packed with meatballs, covered in melted mozzarella and dripping with a hearty marinara. For another meaty ball of flavor, order their Rice Ball Special, featuring their Sicilian Rice Balls stuffed with meat Bolognese and peas, covered in sauce and melted mozzarella for a full hearty meal for only $5.50.
Harold Dieterle’s Perilla serves Duck Meatballs for those looking for something a bit out of the ordinary. These tender balls are seasoned with basil and spicy sambal oelek for a serious kick. The meatballs are simmered in a mint and thyme-scented duck broth then topped with Parmesan cheese and a raw quail egg yolk to add creaminess to the broth and served atop mint cavatelli and spinach.
Sarah Shaker is the founder of the blog Bright Lights, My City.