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Meatball Obsession

by Thomas Rafael

Dan Mancini was so obsessed with his grandmother’s meatballs that he quit his job after 25 years in the apparel business to open up his own meatball shop, using grandma’s recipes from Bari, Italy.   And Meatball Obsession was born.

The shop, which is little more than counter near 14th St and 6th Ave, is offering three types of meatballs: beef, turkey and pork sausage.  A single goes for $4, a double runs $7 and the triple will set you back ten bucks.   They’re served in an ice cream cup  and loaded up with grandma’s Sunday Sauce, a thick marinara with a rich tomato flavor.  The meatballs are accompanied by one or two parmesan dipping breads depending on the size of the order.  We tried the beef and turkey meatballs. Each was firm yet juicy with just the right amount of bread crumbs.   You can also order a meatball in a pocket sandwich made with ciabatta bread for $4, which could easily serve  as a cheap lunch (or a cheap date).

Meatball Obsession also offers several ways to customize your meatballs.  There are several toppings to choose from, including shredded fontina and freshly grated locatelli.  For an extra buck, you can purchase a regional meatball.  The Naples is infused with fresh mozzarella pearls; the Parma is beefed up with crispy pancetta and fresh herbs, while the Genoa gets added flavor from toasted pine nuts and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

An assortment of Manhattan Special sodas are also available along with coffee and crumb cake at $2 a slice.  Mancini calls his meatball spot “comfort to go” and we agree.  For a light meal or late snack, you really could become obsessed with Meatball Obsession.

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