The Meatball Factory

The little corner of 14th Street and 2nd Avenue has really been getting a makeover. First an IHOP opened up and now Top Chef alum Dave Martin has moved in next door with his brand new restaurant the Meatball Factory.

First off it’s pretty amazing what they did with the space. The grimy spot that was once an Arthur Treachers/Nathans has been transformed into a cozy, low lit space with brick walls and quite a nice beer list. Since the autumn is ending soon I figured I had to get at least one more seasonal beer so I had the Greenpoint Harbor Leafpile Pumpkin Ale and Mr. T had a Sarnac Root Beer.

The menu is divided into meatballs, sauces and fries- so there are a hundred different combinations you make depending on your mood. We began with an order of the Lambda, Lambda meatballs made from Elysian Farms Leg of Lamb & Shoulder, Oregeno & Pecorino Romano.

The meatball itself was really tasty with surprising hunks of meat throughout instead of being entirely ground down. I could have enjoyed this meatball all on it’s own but you have to get some sauce right? We couldn’t decide on just one so we got the trio of sauce sampler. From left to right we had the Meat House- their signature Bolognese sauce, Dragon’s Lair- a Green Curry Peanut sauce and the Truffle Time- a Black Truffle sauce.

Of the three I enjoyed the Dragon’s Lair the best. The creamy, peanut sauce had a nice little kick of spice from the Thai Basil and it went really well with the Lamb Meatball. Mr. T liked the Meat House sauce the best but I found it a little too thick. There were four different kinds of meat inside and it wasn’t balanced by the tomatoes. It was kind of like putting meat on top of meat instead of a sauce. The Truffle sauce was fabulous but any sauce with truffles, cream and fontina cheese is going to be extremely rich. I could only stomach a bite or two before it became too much.

The Nonna Lola’s Meatball Parm was an unfortunate disappointment. The Old School pork, steak and veal meatballs were good but the sandwich execution was terrible. There was about a teaspoon of sauce and a measly sprinkle of cheese on top of some extremely hard bread. The entire sandwich was a dry, tasteless mess. Luckily the side of Brussels Sprouts it came with made up for the sandwich a bit. They had a nice sweet and spicy flavor from the addition of Maple Syrup and Red Chili sauce.

The Idaho Cut Fries done Poutine Style were decent. I had been excited to have actual Poutine, which I love, with gravy and cheese curds. But here “Poutine Style” means the addition of mozzarella curds and one of their signature sauces. We ended up with the Mushroom Sauce since it is the most similar to gravy but it just wasn’t the same. I actually ended up dipping my fries in the leftover gravy of the Lamb Meatballs and it was ten times better. Maybe they’ll start making a meatball gravy sauce instead for Poutine lovers like me.

We were too full for dessert so we’ll save that for another day. Unfortunately I was a little let down by the Meatball Factory overall. The Meatball Shop in the LES is so amazing I guess I compare everything to that and this is certainly not up to their level. But it’s still early, so with some menu tweaking I think the food could go up a few notches. The affordable wine list and cozy, people watching spot will bring me back for a return trip soon.

The Meatball Factory


I will admit that I went into the Meatball Factory like it was a competition. I was hungry to see who would come out on top in Meatball Factory Vs. the Meatball Shop. I actually preferred the meatballs at Meatball Factory, but I prefer the environment at the Meatball Shop.