Hey Meatball just rolled in as the latest restaurant addition to Little Italy, located near the intersection of College and Crawford. As you probably guessed, meatballs are the main dish and focal point. Chef Rodney Bowers, formerly of The Citizen and The Rosebud, brings a new offering that goes beyond the pizzerias and red sauces that dot this stretch.
House-made jarred veggies line the walls as does eclectic images of Chef Bowers professing the quality of his, ahem, balls. The counter service may put some off but I thought it was a casual approach that keeps with the down home feel of the space .
The house-made Ginger-Ale ($3) definitely had bite and was not for the faint of heart - this ain't no Canada Dry. A Strawberry Cream Soda ($3) is also offered to satiate your sweet tooth.
As a vegetarian option, eggplant and ricotta 'meatballs' ($11) were served over a plate of polenta and drizzled with a parmesan cream. The polenta was cooked perfectly and, coupled with the sauce, was a real knock out in flavor and consistency. Unfortunately, this posed a problem for the veggie meatballs which had a tacky quality and lacked enough flavour. I felt they were overwhelmed by the rest of the dish. But, with that said, I'd still get it again just for the polenta.
Of course we had to order the meatball sandwich, appropriately called The Godfather ($11), which was accompanied by a small chopped salad. Created with the "holy trinity of pork, veal and beef," the meatballs were delicious and stood above what you might find stewing all day down the street. And on a small side note, the knife work on the chopped vegetables in the salad maybe a small detail but showed the high caliber and attention to detail Chef Bower's is committed to serving.
What's unique to Hey Meatball is the family friendly space and Chef Bower's ability to serve upscale comfort food that's still approachable and familiar. Since it's still a soft opening, most dishes were prepared to order which insured quality but also a slight backlog during the dinner rush.
The grand opening will be next week with the unveiling of the full menu and hopefully their organic soft serve ice cream ($3). Apparently, the full menu will allow you to choose which type of meatball (veal, turkey, beef, or veggie), sauce (pesto, marinara, or alfredo), and side (risotto, polenta, or pasta).
Photos by Peter Henderson