This past weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to a soft opening of a brand new restaurant called the Meatball Factory. The owner is Chef Dave Martin, a finalist from season one of Top Chef. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect other than lots of food.
The location of the new restaurant is fantastic, right at the corner of 2nd Ave and 14th street, making it a perfect place to get some food before or after a trip to a bar or movie at one of the nearby theaters. The interior had a bit of a rustic feel with wooden tables, chairs and a sizable bar area. The bar only serves beer and wine, though the beer selection was quite large. The restaurant which seats about 68, does not feel crammed while at the same time, does not waste any space. Should the seats fill up, the bar area is quite sufficient for waiting with a cold beer or glass of wine.
Now, the food. With a restaurant name including “meatball,” I had high expectations for the various types listed on the menu. The first ones that came out were short rib meatballs topped with salsa verde. The combination may not sound traditional, but the salsa verde was extremely tasty and was not overly spicy as to ruin the savory meatballs. Next was an order or Poutine (or cheese fries, so says the menu) with Mozzarella cheese curds and vodka sauce. These were pretty spectacular, though very heavy, so make sure you share with your friends.
The food kept coming. Soon after a small taste of Chef Martin’s famous black truffle mac ‘n cheese. I could have eaten a bucket of this stuff and while I would have felt gross, it would have tasted great to the last bite. You could actually add meatballs to the mac ‘n cheese, which might make them into the greatest dish ever. Next came some crackerbread pizza, which is basically a super thing pizza. While we only tasted the plain pizza, the thin crispness was great. My only complaint (and maybe the only one of the night) was that the sauce was a bit over seasoned (with oregano).
A couple more meatballs came out (oh the humanity), this time they were turkey and covered with the green curry peanut sauce. This was probably the best sauce of the night. Soon after a mini “sammy” came out with more of the same meatballs with peanut sauce — I didn’t complain. There was also some lamb meatballs tossed in somewhere, which were perfectly moist and topped with the pepper monkey sauce. A close second to the peanut sauce.
There was so much food I think I even left some out. But overall the meatballs and sauce were definite winners of the night, with the truffle mac ‘n cheese being the runner up. The mac and cheese is great, but it was so rich and cheesy, it might have to be a shared item to go along with other things. The menu is set up to easily share lots of dishes. Grab some meatballs with a few sauces, some fries to share and maybe a little pizza as well. The chef did very well to set up a great menu that spans the globe of different flavors for the various meatballs. Looking forward to going back again.