The Meatball Shop, $9
84 Stanton St., nr. Allen St.; 212-982-8895
Of the five kinds of house-ground balls available in just about every sauce-and-bread configuration known to man, we like the spicy pork variety with meat sauce and provolone on a hero.
All photographs by Hannah Whitaker
Northern Spy Food Co., $12
511 E. 12th St., nr. Ave. A; 212-228-5100
The locavore-minded kitchen uses pork leg from Fleisher’s to make these super-tender orbs. They’re seasoned with star anise, oven-roasted, then braised in sauce.
349 E. 12th St., nr. First Ave.; 212-777-2644
First pizza, now meatballs. Former fine-dining chef Mathieu Palombino has mastered the form: nicely browned on the outside, tender within, and served in the most invigorating pool of sauce in town.
214 Mulberry St., nr. Spring St.; 212-966-7366
Two delicious cheap-eats trends collide: grass-fed-beef balls wrapped in falafel and served on a stick, with a lip-smacking green tahini sauce.
Mia Dona Cart, $7
206 E. 58th St., nr. Third Ave.; 212-750-8170
Some restaurants set up ice-cream stands outside their doors. Mia Dona has a meatball cart, hawking $5 bowls or $7 focaccia sandwiches, and starring the best meatballs in midtown.
406 Broome St., at Centre St.; 212-680-5600
While the trend is toward golf-ball-size meatballs, Michael Sullivan’s take is unabashedly big and lusciously soft.
637 Hudson St., at Horatio St.; 212-242-3093
Rib-sticking Heritage-beef-brisket balls with a pleasantly coarse texture, and a 2 a.m. last call.
Terroir Tribeca, $11
24 Harrison St., nr. Greenwich St.; 212-625-9463 Exquisitely soft and airy, Marco Canora’s veal-ricotta meatballs have always been among the best; now he serves them on a toasted baguette.