Everyone trying to get fit this summer often try diets that never tend to stick or work. The keto-diet? Juice cleanse? Intermittent fasting? Fat-free? We believe that we’ve heard, and sadly have tried, it all. The no carb diet is certainly a popular diet amongst many. As future physicians, we definitely acknowledge that having a limited portion of carbohydrates in your diet would benefit your overall health, although cutting it out completely may eventually cause significant changes in your metabolic health. Whenever we try to restrict carbs for the day, it’s often easier for us to do when the option for a carb-heavy meal is taken off the menu. We came across The Meatball Shop while trying to find both an affordable and protein-dense meal without the temptations of carb-heavy dishes on the menu.
Situated in six different locations sprawled across NYC, The Meatball Shop is a staple for New Yorkers and tourists alike. Most of the restaurants look exactly the same – wide plank flooring, simple wooden tables with larger group seating in the center, and backless bar-stool seating along an off-white brick bar counter. Certainly not the most romantic spot, but its casual feel makes it possible for family lunch and group gatherings to be fun and relaxed. The menus are all laminated and each person is allowed to write in what kind of meatball they want (classic beef, pork, chicken, veggie, or special), the sauce (classic tomato, spicy meat, parmesan cream, mushroom gravy, pesto, special), and how they would like it prepared. We decided to forgo the sides of spaghetti so we can stay true to restricting the amount of carbs we intake in addition to fueling up on as much protein as we could.
We ordered several different combinations of meatballs, ranging from the classic to pork to chicken, with different sauces on each. The classic meatball tastes exactly like a larger version of your typical meatballs, just without the spaghetti. The pork meatball was actually, surprisingly, better than we expected. The chicken meatball was great, although it lacked a little flavor and was less tender than the beef and pork counterparts. Our absolute favorite combinations were: classic with parmesan cream and chicken with pesto sauce. We strongly believe that any base of meatball, whether it’s classic or chicken or veggie, will go great with the parmesan cream. The pesto sauce gave the chicken meatball an enormous amount of flavor that was completely unexpected and elevated the meatball to an entirely different level. We strongly advise the pesto with the chicken meatball than with any other base of meatball since the other meatballs tend to have a subtle favor and texture that may not appeal to all tastebuds with the pesto sauce. The classic sauce, which we tried with both the classic meatball and the chicken meatball, was good but nothing like the parmesan or pesto.
Since we weren’t planning to completely cut out carbs from our diet or meals, we were pleased that our dishes had sides of bread. We were disappointed that the bread was subpar, but it is possible that we may have received slices from a stale loaf. Nonetheless, anything dipped in that parmesan cream sauce was amazing, even the bread.
The Meatball Shop is a great place for a casual lunch with a group of friends. Don’t let the name fool you – although they have many meat combinations, this restaurant can accommodate vegetarians too with their veggie “meat”balls. So the next time you and your friend decide to restrict carbs together, go to The Meatball Shop to get your protein fix without the temptations of carb-loaded dishes.
Overall Rating: 14.2/15
The Meatball Shop
798 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019