5 minutes with Chef Dave Martin of the Meatball Factory
We chatted with “Top Chef” alum Dave Martin, the man behind the dishes at the Meatball Factory, which opened yesterday in the East Village.
Why meatballs? I was brought into this project by the restaurant, and they already had the idea. I was totally interested but wanted to make sure I did my version of what a meatball is. They brought me on, and I was like, “Oh hey, I get to do my thing.”
A lot of people are already comparing the Meatball Factory to local fave the Meatball Shop. Thoughts? Meatball Shop is doing a great job, but it’s kind of like when the cupcake thing took off. No one invented the meatball. It’s another version. I’m not trying to compete. I don’t need to copy anybody.
What are Dave Martin’s meatballs like? My vision is having wonderful different flavors and our own style with the sauces. I spent over 25 hours creating flavors. I’ve got meatballs that are dairy-free, gluten-free; none of these meatballs have the same construction. Like the Latin Stallion meatball — I use manchego and potato as my binder.
How about the ingredients? Every single sauce is from scratch. There are no garbage ingredients.
What’s the vibe of the restaurant like? I hope the vibe is just like what my friends experience when they come to my house [in Long Island City]. It’s industrial — kind of like a factory, and very comfortable. There’s a great price point. And there’s a real attention with our wine program — we have some kick-ass wines that other restaurants offer for $16 that we’re featuring for $11.
The Meatball Factory is located at 231 Second Ave., at 14th St. (212-260-8015). Meatball dishes range from $8-$9, while additional entrees (crackerbread pizzas, pastas, etc.) range from $11-$17.
Follow Style/Entertainment Editor Julie Gordon on Twitter: @jbgordon