Dish of the Week: The Meatball Shop’s naked chicken balls

Media Credit: Dean Whitelaw | Staff Photographer

The Meatball Shop's naked chicken meatballs combo earned our pick for dish of the week.

For the meat lovers looking for their Italian fix, search no further than The Meatball Shop north of Logan Circle.

The restaurant, located at 1720 14th St. NW, is furnished with wooden booth-style seating and wooden stools lining the bar. The Meatball Shop’s white exposed brick walls are covered in vegetable cartoons, and fairy lights coil around its paneled ceiling.

The Meatball Shop’s food selections are meatball-centric, as expected, with sandwich, slider and plates of pasta all packed or topped with a choice of red meat, gluten-free meat or veggie balls. With meatball flavors ranging from lobster to classic beef, nearly everyone could find an option that suits their taste buds.

Sticking to its theme, all of the restaurant’s appetizers are also ball-shaped, offering mini ball dishes like risotto balls ($8) and crab cake balls ($10.50).

A section of the menu features a “naked balls” combo ($10.50) that comes with four of your choice of meatballs, sauce, parmesan and focaccia. Meatball choices include spicy heritage pork, salmon, classic, chicken, veggie and Maine lobster. Sauce options include spicy meat, parmesan cream, classic tomato, pesto, yogurt dill and lemon butter.

I decided to put the restaurant’s basic ingredients to the test and settled on the “naked balls” combo, featuring four gluten-free friendly chicken meatballs beneath a classic red tomato sauce. The dish was topped with parmesan cheese and a side of focaccia bread to smother in the tomato sauce.

The dish was simple and small compared to the restaurant’s larger bowl ($17.50), sandwich ($14-21) and “Baller Plate” ($21.50-24) options, but it still made for a mouth-watering meal. The chicken balls were on the lighter side but packed with savory flavors. Paired with the velvety texture of the classic tomato sauce and gritty cheese, the entree was enough to keep me satisfied.

If you’re looking for something with more of a kick, opt for the spicy “swift kick” hot sauce to top your choice of meat.

The shop’s layout centers around its bar, which sports a lineup of whiskeys and cocktail classics like an old-fashioned ($12) to a devil’s juice sangria ($8) made with white wine, brandy, grapefruit and strawberries and jello shots ($4) for the more adventurous. I stuck with water to wash down my meal, keeping to the plate’s simple aesthetic.

While The Meatball Shop has a D.C. location, you don’t need to be in the District to try its meals. The restaurant is a chain with six other shops located in New York and Connecticut.

Between other ball-themed appetizers, main entree, desserts like make your own ice cream sandwich ($7) and happy hour options, the tab can quickly add up. But The Meatball Shop will never fail to deliver on a mouth-watering, meat-filled plate.

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