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