This past weekend, I spent a great day in Williamsburg with my mom. Whenever I am able to come to this hipster haven, there are two locations that are always on my hit list: The Meatball Shop and Oddfellows Ice Cream Company. These places are perfect for a relatively cheap meal in an increasingly expensive neighborhood.
THE MEATBALL SHOP
You may recognize The Meatball Shop from their Chase business card commercials—a decision that you might see as gimmicky, maybe even desperate. Fortunately, this shop is anything but. The Meatball Shop, created by Daniel Holzman, who cooked at Le Bernadin at the age of 15, and Michael Chernow, a professional in the food industry, is a restaurant that really only serves one type of dish: meatballs. This fact in itself is deceiving, because while they do only serve meatballs, you can choose from hundreds of combinations, all of which can be marked on your menu with a felt-tipped marker.
You can take “naked balls”—four meatballs and a sauce—and get one side. The side options range from fresh risotto to classic spaghetti. Their meatballs include beef, spicy pork, chicken, and tomato, and they have a pesto, Parmesan cream, and spicy meat sauce. All of these are excellent, and I literally dream of some of the combinations when I sleep. If spaghetti and meatballs isn’t your thing, you can always get sliders, a hero, or a smash (smashed meatballs on a brioche bun). Of course, it’s worth mentioning that they also have a special meatball and sauce that rotates at each of their five city locations. It’s usually amazing: barbecue, Greek lamb, and currywurst balls are just the tip of the iceberg.
Now, if for some strange reason you still aren’t salivating for these meatballs, or if you just aren’t that into meatballs, you can always get some of their fresh homemade cookies or ice cream. Or, if you are feeling extra gluttonous that day, you can try an ice cream sandwich. They have chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, brownie, peanut butter, ginger snap, and—just like their meatballs—they have a special cookie and ice cream. Ice cream-wise, the shop has chocolate, vanilla, espresso, mint, caramel, and the aforementioned special flavor.
The Meatball Shop is also extremely friendly to your wallet. Four naked balls and a side will set you back 12 bucks. For Williamsburg, that’s not bad at all, and believe me, it’s a hearty portion. If you are in the mood for ice cream, and if you’re already in Williamsburg, there is only one place to go: Oddfellows Ice Cream Company.
Oddfellows Ice Cream Company, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary, is an ice cream shop like no other. When you walk by the Kent Street shop, you can smell the aroma of fresh baked waffle cones wafting through the air. Oddfellows, opened by wd~50 alum Sam Mason and husband-and-wife duo Mohan and Holiday Kumar, has exploded onto the Williamsburg scene.
With creative and wildly innovative flavors such as Brown Butter and Cornbread, Oddfellows is pushing the boundaries for ice cream. Sure they have chocolate, vanilla, and other classic flavors, but even those taste better than your average ice cream. By using locally sourced ingredients, Oddfellows has created the highest quality product possible. When scooped in their freshly baked waffle cones, it’s one of the best combinations you will ever have. I cannot possibly list every flavor that they offer, because they have a ridiculous amount, but you can always check their website for their past flavors. On Facebook, they have a menu tab that they update daily with the flavors of the day.
This ice cream parlor is reminiscent of one from your grandparent’s age, complete with paper hats and posters of the creepy monkey from Toy Story 3 adorning its walls. I’d recommend a walk across the Williamsburg Bridge on a warm day, with a long cool-off in this brilliant ice cream parlor.