By: Anne M. Raso
We couldn't wait to visit The Meatball Factory, the brainchild of Top Chef Season 1 Finalist Dave Martin. Martin was actually on the scene at the restaurant, and was kind enough to answer any questions we had about our meal...and even brought over our "floatillas" at the end of the meal. (The mascarpone ice cream served in them is one of his sugar addict masterpieces!) He picked the decidedly non-foodie nabe of 14th Street and Second Avenue to open his casual eatery based on his love of--you guessed it--meatballs! (There used to be a food court featuring Arthur Treacher's and Taco Bell on the spot, as well as several other common fast food joints). As a result of his location choice, the crowd is young and hopping, and it is quite noisy, but diners can still carry on a conversation without raising your voice. Prices are right, too--the affable young chef pretty much keeps every item in the $8 to $15 price range.
We couldn't wait to start our meal off with Dave’s World Famous Black Truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese ($11)--the dish that started the truffle mac craze when Dave did his stint on Top Chef! Let's not mince words here and say that the combination of fusilli pasta, parmigiano reggiano, garlic, heavy cream, truffle oil and fontina is about as close to foodie heaven as you are going to get and simply just forget the calories. This is a highly addicting dish that we recommend for the "last supper" of Death Row inmates everywhere!
|Truffled Mac N' Cheese|
|Cluck Cluck Meatballs|
|Three Dipping Sauces: Marinara, Salsa Verde, and Hells Bells|
|San Pig Sticks|
Overall, the atmosphere is airy and casual (with a lot of windows), and as mentioned before, diners tend to be on the young side...but do not let that keep you coming from this destined to be classic but modern "comfort food" establishment. Chef Dave deserves every bit of praise he's been getting from his new place! And he's bringing his great and very personal cuisine to a neighborhood that is short on comfort food!
The Meatball Factory251 East 14th Street
New York, NY 10003
[Photos: Anne M. Raso]