Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bits & Morsels

Meatball Obsession. Home of the Original Meatball in a cup.

by Erin Frankel

Yes, it's getting warmer but there's still a bit of frigidity in the air, which means comfort food season isn't over just yet. So, here are some of my favorite comfort food staples around town:

The King Burger at The King. A good hamburger in New York City is a whole lot more than just a slab of beef sandwiched between a buttered bun. The best use dry, aged meat, extraneous, often luxurious, ingredients like foie gras or melted gruyere, and an impressively crusted, fluffy bun. The King manages to elevate the simple hamburger experience while still remaining true to the classic, most fundamental craft of the quintessential American staple. The King Burger starts with a warm, crusty bun, which holds a supple, plump, juicy, never-too-greasy mound of beef along with the salty intensity of bread & butter pickles and a hint of exquisite sweetness from a touch of bernaise sauce, which takes the sandwich to the finish line.
The King Burger from The King.
The Truffle Mac & Cheese at Sons of Essex. What makes the perfect mac & cheese? A perfectly crispy top with a center oozing with creamy, salty layers of melted cheese. Maybe a gourmandizing condiment or two to spice things up a bit ... but nothing too complicated.

The Truffle Mac & Cheese at Sons of Essex is thusly: a nice helping of soft elbow macaroni topped with gooey gruyere, bursting with a plentiful and perfectly smooth truffle cheese sauce, and broiled in a hot skillet until the top layer is perfectly crisped. And don't forget the truffles. I'd say we have a match.
Truffle Mac & Cheese from Sons of Essex.
Meatball Obsession. I'm addicted to Daniel Mancini's (of Mama Mamacini's) new Meatball takeout counter. At only $4 a pop, you can order any variety of meatball — whether it be turkey, pork, or beef, with any variety of toppings ranging from crispy pasta to shredded fontina to mozzarella cheese pearls to locatelli pecorino romano to parmegiano-reggiano.

And, if you're feeling saucy, for only $1 more, you can choose from a unique display of refined concoctions like the Parma (a mixture of crispy pancetta, parmigiano-reggiano, and fresh herbs) or my all-time favorite, the Naples (fresh, small gooey mozzarella pearls delicately placed in a light and flavorful sauce with hints of fresh herbs and extra virgin olive oil). Hard to believe all this goodness can live inside of a small paper cup.
The Meatball Obsession stand.
The best part? The meatballs are ready to be eaten on the go within 3 minutes of ordering, which you do from a small stall next to the PATH train on 14th street and 6th Avenue. We're all in a hurry so here's the hautest to-go snack in town!
Turkey Meatball with with Naples sauce at Meatball Obsession.
One of my favorite things. The black tagliolini with shrimp and calamari in a lightly spiced tomato sauce at the timeless I Tre Merli is of my favorite pasta dishes this season. It transitions well into the light, seafood-centric dishes of summer, but retains a comfy texture. The shrimp and calamari are subtle in flavor yet add a light backbone to the perfectly executed fresh pasta. Summer here we come!
I Tre Merli's black tagliolini with shrimp and calamari in a lightly spiced tomato sauce.