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The Early Word on Williamsburg's Meatball Shop

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The expansion of Lower East Side concept Meatball Shop—serving a mix and match menu of meatballs—to Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg seems only natural, given the demographics of the neighborhood and its nightlife scene. And it will test the concept's resiliency before it continues its brisk expansion. The initial reviews seem positive, with a bit of hipster-hating thrown in (why are you eating at a hyped concept restaurant right off the L?), and some comments on the management/time:

The Good News: Brooklyn Paper puts the Meatball Shop's new outer borough location in context: "The chicken meatball, which we tried with parmesan cream and a side of black trumpet risotto, was juicy, tender and flavorful, while the beef and marinara conjured intense memories of the Graham Avenue Italian childhood we never had." [BP]

The Bad News: One MenuPages reviewer made a successful Harry Potter comparison -- not in the way you'd expect: "Imagine eating at the Harry Potter premiere. Not actually being invited to the red carpet - but like actually standing outside on the sidewalk. That's what eating here is like. You're in the midst of a crush of people, everyone taking iPhone photos (of their food) and shouting over the din. Literally, it's like being inside a Yelp hurricane." Fair enough. [MenuPages]

The Kid-Tested Mother-Approved news: A pre-school mother blissfully blogged on words to eat by, that the newly opened Williamsburg locale of Meatball Shop, would be frequented on her and her family's behalf often. After describing the kid-friendly service, and the delectable meatballs, she divulged her final verdict: "So here's the deal: I intend to hit this place as often as possible. The food's great, the prices are amazing, and my kid loved it. And did I mention that they have a full bar, for those who don't drift off after a single glass of wine?" [Words to Eat By]

The Beer Goggles News: An unsatisfied Yelper compared his experience at Meatball Shop while sober, to what would be a blonde babe at Bellhouse pre alcohol withdrawal. He explains that once the beer goggles are intact "everything goes as planned. When the girl plays into your sloppy game. When the wait is tolerable. When you're standards are lowered by whiskey and too little sleep. When the service is on point. But sometimes, just sometimes, it doesn't happen that way. Sometimes you're tired from the night before and nurse a single beer the entire night, revealing that what might on any other booze filled night be a 9 is in reality a 4 at best. Sometimes the wait is far too long and there's not enough hops, barely, yeast, and malt in your system to sooth your nerves." While he did admit the meatball smash for 8 bucks was "decent" he was still "at the mercy of poor service." [Yelp]

The Puzzled Priority News: Another Yelper fussed about the Meatball Shop management having their priorities completely off: "The entire time we were there, the managers were bitching at waiters for not having the menus lined up properly and for the tables not lining up with "the fifth line of the wood in the floor" (I'm not exaggerating), and the menus perfectly lining up to the borders of the table facing out. It was soooooo ridiculous. Then both managers stood at the table next to ours, carefully looking at the menus deciding if they should be laid out vertically or horizontally. Our waiter asked us, what do you guys think? I replied that they were wasting way too much time concerning themselves with the orientation of the menus, to which one of the managers replied, "I'm a stickler for this stuff", and didn't even ask how our experience was. While I appreciate attention to detail his time would be better spent walking around and asking people if they like their food, and not bitching at his wait staff." What's this Yelper's suggestion to the misprioritizing? "RELAX dudes, it's fuckin Williamsburg." [Yelp]

The Ball Breaking News: The Skinny Pig gluttonously blogs that Meatball Shop owners "Michael Chernow and chef Daniel Holzman have the best balls in town." As she describes it, the spicy pork meatballs in pesto sauce may be smothered almost too much in sauce, but too much of a good thing is hardly ever a bad thing and Meatball Shop in Williamsburg might be this blogger's go-to place for any and every occasion. "It will be a great spot for a date, a casual dinner with friends, or in my case...a post-workout snack. Meatballs ARE protein after all." [The Skinny Pig]
—Maite Alvarez and Devin Briski

The Meatball Shop - Lower East Side

84 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002 (718) 551-0520 Visit Website

The Meatball Shop

170 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY