Open: Meatball Kitchen

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To every culture there is a meatball. The Swedes, Italians, Spanish, Lebanese, and Japanese cuisines all boast versions made with a variety of ground meats and spices. So when Dan Katz decided to open Meatball Kitchen on Short Vine in Corryville, he knew the appeal would be universal. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner as well as late night until 11p.m. during the week and 1 a.m. on weekends, drawing students and area residents during the day while also catering to the late night revelers in need of hearty snacks.

My junior taster and I stopped in last weekend to check it out, and we were impressed. The pork meatballs are generously flavored with spicy chorizo and just enough ground cinnamon to taste both exotic and comforting. They’re a touch crunchy on the outside but still tender and moist on the inside. At the other end of the spectrum, the vegetarian version (I had to try it. In the name of research) was quite the shocker. Most vegetarian meatballs taste bland or processed, but this one was melt-in-your-mouth tender, comprised of black beans, rice, and spinach. More standard beef and turkey meatballs are also featured; we tasted both varieties with the tomato sauce, which had a pitch-perfect sweetness, but meat sauce and béchamel are also options. 

Meatballs are served in sandwiches, over pasta, over salads, or on their own with a choice of two sides. We opted for the latter and enjoyed the roasted beets and smoky coleslaw. To round out the delightful offerings, cupcakes and hand pies can be purchased for dessert, and a liquor license is in the works; wine, beer and cocktails will soon be available. One minor kvetch: All food and drinks are served in throwaway containers. While I realize this is a fast-casual concept ($8 for three meatballs and two small sides), it would be really nice to see some melamine bowls and inexpensive silverware. After all, meatballs this good deserve the real deal.

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