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Monday, July 18, 2011

Meatball Shop

Who isn't up for a delicious meatball, YOUR way?  I always appreciate my dinners at Meatball Shop, particularly since you can order the meatballs in a variety of ways.  You make your selections with a dry erase marker on a laminated menu.  Good idea given the all the options.

Every night there are five meatball choices, the staples of beef, pork, chicken, veggie and a special (think lamb) served with marinara, meat (for real meatiness), mushroom gravy, parmesan cream and pesto.
Pro: 4 Meatballs served with foccacia
Con: Can't mix and match...if you're wanting that, sliders are your best match

My selection included pork with parmesan which was divine and meatballs soft.

Beef meatballs with marinara which were soft but not too exciting.

I love the farm sides or sides "that stick to your bones" (i.e. risotto, rigatoni, polenta) can be separate or under the meatballs.  I order as sides as I still am partly the child that doesn't want other food to touch.  The vegetables are pretty bland (no salt), but the argula and apple salad with vinegarette is delightful.  Yum!  It's nice to offset the heaviness of the meatballs with greens.

As much as I absolutely love the meatballs, my absolute favorite is the SMASHER.  Meatballs on a brioche bun with a choice of sauce and either mozzarella or provolone.  Tender, tasty and Fantastic!

To keep with the theme of building your own dishes, you can build your very own ice cream sandwich.  Brownie cookies with Caramel ice cream.  Yum Yum, but cookie lovers beware....cookies aren't as soft as you would hope for. 

Along with every restaurant that gets popular, the portions begin to dwindle and this is no exception; however, you still get 2 meatballs dishes, 2 sides, a smasher and dessert for $26.  Now that's a steal! 
But get there early as no reservations are taken and during primetime, the wait can be over two hours.

The Meatball Shop  84 Stanton Street (212) 982-8895

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Side Recipe

1 Bag of Southern Greens Blend from Trader Joes
4 cloves of garlic
Green onion
Halved cherry tomatoes (optional)
Red Wine Vinegar

Saute garlic and onion in oil for 6 minutes, add washed greens, a half pint of halved cherry tomatoes, 3/4 cup of water and 6 tablespoons of red wine vinegar.  Cover and let steam for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Learning to Cook without Salt

Since I've started to cook on a more regular basis, the decision to cook with NO salt has been made.  Quelle Horreur!  Though, in truth, it really isn't that bad. 

Try my simple fish dish at home in a skillet/pan:

Marinate 2 filets of tilapia, or any non-fatty white fish i.e. snapper, in lime.  10 minutes each side.
Then, sear the fish 2 minutes on each side and set aside.  In a skillet, brown onion crescents in oil and fresh cut garlic.  Once onions are browned, dump one 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes (you can of course use the same amount of fresh tomatoes), 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of rosemary, and let simmer 4-5 minutes.  Place fish in skillet and let cook 4 minutes each side in tomato sauce and voila!  A tasty fish without the use of any salt!

 Total expense: $14.14 not including the spices which I already had

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Les Halles

When I first moved to New York ten years ago and knew nothing about food or Anthony Bourdain, I thought Les Halles was exceptional compared to its downtown neighbor, L'Express.  Unfortunately my last few visits have been just average.  Les Halles still provides the classic French Brasserie atmosphere, but with loud radio music, which is almost unbearable anywhere near the bar area of the restaurant. 

Let's start with the appetizers. 

Les Rillettes du Boucher - house made shredded pork confit.  The cornicons provided more flavor than the confit.

Steak tartare - always loved the tartare as they prepare table side with as many of the ingredients as you wish.  Our waiter asked if we would like it mild, medium or spicy and we ordered spicy which turned out disastrous.  You would expect a mild spiciness from the Tabasco, but it felt as if we were just eating a textured Tabasco sauce.

Fortunately, the beet and goat cheese salad did not disappoint.  This dish is appealing not only to the mouth,
but eyes.  The beets are dark red and roasted below a thin wheel of goat cheese.

Didn't bother with the two steaks (Flatrion or Steak Frites) as they were lukewarm, difficult to chew and the frites (what I consider the best thing they have going) oily. 

The dishes I usually order, but not this trip, of Choucroute and Cassoulet have never missed a beat!  They are extremely heavy dishes, but hopefully, you'll be up for the challenge (and the pork!!!)

Les Halles  411 Park Avenue South @ 29th Street
Reservations recommended