Restaurateur Bernie Matz provides the food at Miami's mecca for literary cafe hounds, Books & Books. So, why is he doing meatballs? We asked this all important question, and the answer made sense. This 30-seater is "all about real, affordable food for locals." The old King Kone place got new floors, a new bar, and a whole new attitude.
Opening on Monday right next to his small Cuban spot, the L.A. Cafe (1570 Alton Road, Miami Beach), The Meatball Joint attempts to appeal to your inner meat beast with a menu allowing for a completely customized sandwich. First off, the balls. Take your pick of the "Classic Italian," which combines beef and pork with parmesan and herbs, the slightly less fattening "South Beach" balls (turkey) or for vegetarians who have balls, but can't take the meat heat, go for the eggplant version ($8 for 4 balls). Sauces can be simple, as in the expected marinara, or a little more epicurean, like "drunken mushrooms" (booze on balls, excellent idea, no?).
You'll need something "under your balls," although, they are happy to serve you "on the side" as well, so the line-up includes a strange array of meatball underpinnings; creamy roasted corn and grits, watercress and pear salad, quinoa tabouleh. You can even base your balls on a bed of traditional spaghetti ($4).
They are also doing sliders ($3 each) and "Sammys," which are 3 balls smashed up with mozzarella and grilled on foccacia ($9). There's micro brews on tap ($5) and a diverse beer selection that offers Florida favorites like Cigar City's Maduro Brown and Key West Sunset Ale, but basics like Sam Adams, Stella and Corona are also available by the bottle. The wine list is fortunately uppity for a meatball shop, with an edited selection of wines from around the globe (from Argentina to New Zealand). We didn't anticipate prosecco and rose as options at a "joint," but we'll take it.
Desserts are classic Americana; look for apple pie, bread pudding and ice cream sandwiches to round out a seriously stoner experience ($5). Have fun playing with puns, and with Bernie's balls.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.