All photography appearing in this post taken by Holli Lapes
(click on the photo to view it in a larger format)
The second stop for BocaLocals March Meatball Madness is Meatball Room in Boca Raton. How could we not go to a place with meatball in the title of the restaurant?!
This is my first visit to the establishment and I am surprised at the atmosphere.
First thing I notice is outdoor seating equipped with tables and also lounging areas that have a fire pit.
Once inside, I notice all kinds of lighting. Lots of color changing fixtures: purple, blue, red, green. Here are some folks sitting at the main bar (there’s another bar too that is half outdoor, half indoor).
The water has arrived, I dig the glasses. They are a cross between a mason jar and a regular glass, although you cant really tell from the picture what I am referring to. Here are photos of my water glass within a ~8 second increment of time to show the constant color changing going on.
Some other “little things” I noticed were the salt and pepper shakers. Not really sure why, but I found them to be interesting.
Let the judging begin!
Its meatball time.
The owner of Meatball Room comes by the table to tell us about the classic ball we are about to eat (there are about 5 or 6 different kinds of meatballs offered at meatball room. For example, there is a turkey meatball).
The classic meatball served here is a veal, beef and pork blend, as we saw at Segreto. However, there are some key differences when comparing the two establishments, which I will discuss shortly.
Here it is, the classic meatball at meatball room, weighing in at about 4 & 1/2 ounces cooked.
Accompanied by the house made bread, ricotta and basil, this dish scored high for presentation …but we all know taste is king.
In my opinion, these meatballs score lower than the ones at Segreto in both the taste and the texture categories.
As far as the texture difference, this is likely attributed to the use of eggs in the classic meatball at meatball room, leading to a firmer ball. I overheard one of my fellow judges comparing the more compact texture to a meatloaf rather then a ball. I agreed. The cooking method and oil used plays a role in both texture and taste.
The meatball room pan fries the classic ball in a 70% corn 30% canola oil blend.
Not to say that the taste was not there, it was tasty, but I was a bit disappointed with the details mentioned above. The way I see it, Meatball Room was more of Italian style food or, Americanized Italian.
I was there on a Wednesday and I learned that this was ladies night at Meatball Room when a woman customer (who considered Meatball Room to be her “Cheers”) made her way over to our table for a chat and informed us of the weekly diamond give-aways. Yes, diamonds. Apparently, that evening was amethyst night, my birthstone!
While Meatball Room was a bit too “boca-esque” for me personally, there is a reason I would check it out again:
As someone who has worked with people in helping to manage their food sensitivities, I was excited to hear that Meatball room will be offering many alternatives for those following a specific eating pattern:
–Gluten Free meatballs (recall that meatballs are typically made with breadcrumbs)
–GF pizza & pasta
–Vegetarian meatball consisting of a chickpea base
Meatball room has been open since November of 2013 and I commend them on their vision and creativity. Coming up April 5th is a meatball contest where there is a $500 prize and the winner will get to see their meatball on the menu! They even get to name it whatever they want.
(The sage visited Meatball Room on March 5th 2014)