I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meatball Shop Beard House Luncheon

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Not everyone, especially at the Beard House want to hear about Chef from South Park Chocolate Salty Balls.

Friday was a day off so I braved the cold and went to the James Beard House for a luncheon show casing Dan Holzman and Michael Chernow of The Meatball Shop where they prepared hors d’oeuvres and a tasting. Who does not love meat in ball form?
One thing that I learned from this and will forever take with me is: NEVER, EVER, EVER be late to a James Beard House event. You end up missing the hors d'oeuvres and hors d’oeuvres are awesome. It is like a classy buffet where they bring you stuff and mingle with other people. Due to circumstances out of my control I did not get there till before the main tasting and ended up missing the onb slaught of hors d’oeuvres. The hors d’oeuvres line up was: Miniature Maryland Crabmeat and Potato Chip Meatballs with Old Bay dipping sauce, Mini Buffalo Chicken Meatballs with Blue Cheese dipping sauce and Reuben Meatball sliders with Sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing with all the Prosecco you can drink (socially acceptable to drink).

 Miniature Maryland Crabmeat and Potato Chip Meatballs with Old Bay Dipping Sauce. 
**Due to Social Grace/Etiquette I did not sit there and shove all of them in my mouth and down the dipping sauce like a Big Gulp.

I was able to just grab a Maryland Crabmeat and Potato chip ball off the plate that waiter was already starting to indulge on. I do not know how it did not fall of the stick, but the meatball was light and airy and had a note of saltiness from the potato chips. The Old Bay dip complimented it well and the meatball did not even need it. 

I was able to again, just snag a Buffalo Chicken Meatball but not snap a picture of it. Made with dark meat, the meatball was still able to retain a lightness and like a buffalo wing, had a nice coating of buffalo sauce. It was Franks Red Hot to be exact when I asked Michael Chernow making me feel like I was eating at my old college hangout bar (The Olive Branch in New Brunswick, NJ). I again regret being late. If I had a magical time machine phone booth I would go back in time and be on time and eat myself stupid of meatballs. Also if I had a time machine I would probably pick up Genghis Khan to bring with me for he would totally like meatballs. But not Napoleon…screw him. 

  Mushroom Lentil Soup with Chicken Meatballs. Paired with Garganega Fattori, Soave, Italy 2009

The Main Course kicked off with a Mushroom Lentil Soup with Chicken Meatballs. The meatball was delicious, although a bit over seared and dense. The Mushroom Lentil Soup (would have liked a bit more soup) had a subtle sweetness from its tomato base and worked well with the meatiness of the meatball. 

  Mediterranean Lamb Meatball with Braised Kale and Classic Tomato Sauce. Paired with Sangiovese, Cesani "Ireos". Chianti, Italy 2008

The Mediterranean Lamb Meatball with Braised Kale and Classic Tomato Sauce was my favorite. The lamb meatball cooked perfectly and had a hint of gaminess. Braised perfectly and great accompaniment was the kale. The kale still had a firm texture and had a slight bitterness that tasted amazing with the tomato sauce. According to the chefs the kale was braised with tomato paste, anchovies and garlic. Something I will be trying to recreate this weekend. 
 Spicy Pork Meatball and Spicy Meat Sauce over Soft Polenta. Paired with Barbera D'Alba, Parusso, Piedmont 2008

Last of the savory course was their signature at the shop, the Spicy Pork Meatball and Spicy Meat Sauce over Soft Polenta. The spiciness from the meatball and the sauce was just enough to give a slightest tingle on the back of your throat and help accentuate the richness of the meatball and soft. The polenta was smooth and slightly cheesy and disintegrated with each mouthful. A true sign of a good meatball is the lack of silverware needed to eat it. The Spicy Pork Meatball was so soft that one did not need a knife to break it down. The meatball was like a cake, all you need to eat it is a fork and you can just scoop it up.

 Port Toddy 

Mini Walnut Meringue Sandwich Cookie with Chocolate Ice Cream

Dessert was a Mini Walnut Meringue Sandwich Cookie with Chocolate Ice Cream and served with a Port Toddy, a boozy interpretation of the English Hot Toddy. The warmth of the Toddy with slight notes of lemon, cinnamon and other spices complimented the rich and cold ice cream. The meringue was crisp and light and the perfect delivery vehicle for the ice cream.

This was my first James Beard House event and it was enjoyable. Although the dining room is a bit tight, you get to meet other people and food nerds that are interested in food as well as talk to chefs that are making awesome food. The Meatball Shop is a great place to get comfort Italian-America fare and is worth checking out. Currently located in the Lower East Side, they are planning to open 2 more shops, one in the West Village and one in Williamsburg. Who doesn’t like meaty balls in your mouth?

The Meatball Shop
84 Stanton St
New York, NY 10002

James Beard House
167 W 12th Street
New York, NY 10011

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