It doesn’t take a professional food writer to notice that meatballs are mighty hot in this town right now. (As are we, right! Did you hear about the Beard award we won last night?)
We just went to the belt-loosening Taste of the Lower East Side event in honor of The Grand Street Settlement organization last week, as a matter of fact, and at least four spots were serving the meaty orbs… which we thought was a great, albeit gluttonous, thing.
Heck, there’s even a packed restaurant–The Meatball Shop–totally dedicated to them in the same nabe.
But it wasn’t with trends in mind that we put meatballs on the cover of our current issue (now online and out on the streets and in better bookstores citywide) but tradition.
This issue is heavy on those: We cover the long-gone Washington Market in what’s now known as Tribeca, a wholesale and retail fantastic farm and food market that trumped Greenmarkets, New Amsterdam Market and Whole Foods all put together.
There’s the story of Charles Gabriel, whose Harlem pan-fried chicken is some of the city’s best, and that of Dallis Coffee, which has been sourcing and roasting quality beans since before Stumptown’s Duane Sorenson was in diapers.
There’s dining on Bukharian delights in the Diamond District; a story on what wines people drink according to their zip code; artsy secret supper salons on the Lower East Side and what actor Michael Douglas grew up eating in NYC. (Hint: Pastrami.)
Plus a laugh-out-loud interview on how not to cook hard-boiled eggs and other delights with congressman Anthony Weiner and his brother Jason, the chef of almond on W. 23rd Street.
But back to those meatballs, which have been made for at least three generations of Scognamillos, the clan that runs Patsy’s Italian Restaurant on W. 56th Street just south of Columbus Circle in the Theater District. The 66-year-old spot is our Back of the House profile for May and June and is home to some of the best Italian-American food in the city, made by hand and from the heart.
But more importantly, it was Frank Sinatra’s home away from home and a hot dining destination for some of the biggest stars of screen and stage, and still is, for that matter. And most importantly of all, we’ve got the recipe for those meatballs right here.