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Meatballs are so deceptively simple to make: some ground beef, a little egg, and bread crumbs to hold it all together, right? Really good ones also include spices are are left to simmer for hours. Shortcuts are never the answer. In fact, it's best to leave the cooking, along with the Sunday gravy, to Grandma. But if she is too busy playing canasta and golf to cook, here are ten places to get one spicy meatball.
10. The Meatball Joint
Bernie Matz opened the Meatball Joint
only a few weeks ago and it gets our vote for the vast selection of
meatballs it offers. You can get lamb, turkey, or even a vegetarian
option, but we opt for the classic, made with a beef and pork blend ($8
for four), served with a fire-roasted tomato marinara. In other words,
there's a ball for every mouth.
9. Prime Italian
would you pay for a meatball roughly the size of an infant that comes
from some of the finest beef available? Did someone say $30? That's
the price of Prime Italian's
Kobe meatball. It's brick-oven baked, covered with creamy bufala
ricotta and soaked in a rich tomato marinara. Served with garlic bread,
it's an expensive overindulgence. But oh, so good.
8. Barceloneta Spanish Bistro & Mercat
This meatball is something of a curveball (pardon our pun). The albondigas con sepia ($13) at Barceloneta
aren't your everyday meatball "on top of spaghetti, all covered with
cheese." These squid ink meatballs, served with baby cuttlefish and
sofrito, could be the most intriguing meatballs you'll ever eat.
7. Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
The pork meatballs at Sugarcane
($12) are a comfort food departure from chef Timon Balloo's usual innovative bites.
The mildly spiced tender balls are served in a crock, accompanied by a
sauce flavored with pine nuts and raisins. It's a happy circumstance that a generous piece of country bread is
served with the dish, perfect for dipping.
6. Randazzo's Little Italy
If you want beautiful food served on fine bone china with a little
swirl of pomegranate compote this is not your place. If, however, you're jonesing for the kind of food Tony Soprano or Frank Sinatra would sit
down to eat, now you're talking. This rich Italian-American food is meant to be eaten with a lot of Chianti in unmarked bottles. The
spaghetti with Sunday gravy ($14) is topped with meatballs made the old
fashioned way -- a little pork, a little veal, a little beef, a little
cheese, a little bread, and a lot of love. It's a staple in every
Italian household and it's done right at Randazzo's.
5. Mangia Mia
food truck specializes in balls. Meat balls, fowl balls, and veggie
balls. The only Miami food truck that serves all-Italian cuisine, Mangia Mia
is celebrating its first anniversary this coming July. We love the
smasher, a pair of balls smooshed between two pieces of garlic bread
($7), but if you're not into carbs, go commando with balls sans bread
for the same price.
4. Sardinia Enoteca
calls for a group of friends enjoying some good wine while dining on
boards of cheese, mounds of pasta, and some good meatballs. The
polpettine ($14) is a tender veal meatball with braised fennel. Like
the rest of the plates at Sardinia, the meatball is light and tender,
leaving you room for several more dishes -- and lots more wine.
3. Tudor House
Tudor House's meatball is so good, we know a friend who orders only them as if they were an
entree. Truth be told, the tender meatball, served in a crock with
grilled rustic bread, could serve as a wonderful lunch. The only problem is that
whenever the meatball arrives, the entire table digs in as if everyone were entitled -- to your meal! Order as a side ($12) or as an entree with spaghetti
($21). Either way, tell your friends to back off and get their own.
2. Harry's Pizzeria
might be the little sibling of Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, but
the flavors of this pizza cafe hold their own Harry's meatball
($6), ordered as an appetizer, comes with enough bread for two people to
dip into. A perfectly delicious few bites of meat filled with subtle
spices and cheese are served in a wonderful red sauce. Don't even try to save
your carb allowance for the pizza you've ordered. Just enjoy your meal
and remember that tomorrow's another day.
It probably comes as no surprise that the meatball at Macaluso's
comes in at number one on our list. Chef-owner Michael D'Andrea serves
his beef balls "Staten Island style," in a traditional red sauce that
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SHOW ME HOW
would make any self-respecting Italian mama proud. If those meatballs
taste a little like home, they should. The recipe has been in D'Andrea's
family for decades. Yo! If the cart ain't broke... fuhgeddiboudit!