Away from family and friends, and feeling homesick? Stressed out from papers due, looming deadlines, a cranky boss? Well, an oasis of comfort food opened last month to bring you just the culinary TLC you need. At the New Haven Meatball House you’ll get grandma’s home cookin’ but with a gourmet touch.
The Meatball House is Bob Potter’s third restaurant in New Haven … the other two are Prime 16 on Temple Street and C.O. Jones on State Street. Potter has been in the restaurant business for more than 30 years, mostly in Connecticut but with stints in Pittsburgh and the West Coast. While in California in the late ’90s, he realized that back in New Haven chipotles, mainstream burritos, and tequila were still pretty much under-the-radar. He returned in 1999 to open his tequila bar, C.O. Jones.
Then he got a yen to offer craft beer, and that’s when he launched Prime 16 to serve gourmet burgers made from hormone- and steroid-free beef along with his micro-brews.
Potter continues to entertain new ideas and visits NYC often to investigate the latest trends in the food scene. On a recent trip to the Lower East Side he came across a meatball restaurant and immediately thought New Haven could use one of those.
The New Haven Meatball House serves beef, pork, chicken and vegetable balls on a variety of pasta, or in sandwiches big and small. Working with executive chef Joseph Hamboussi of NYC they came up with just the right combinations of chicken (70% light meat, 30% dark meat) and vegetables (12-13 different ingredients including lentils and chick peas) to achieve the perfect savory, juicy balance.
With food deliveries every day they make everything fresh and they source as much as they can locally: Ashely’s ice cream and Judies cookies for their cookie-and-ice-cream sandwiches, bread from Judies and Lupi Marchigiano, and soda from Foxon Park.
Potter says, “It’s just comfort food. A lot of these [college] kids are away from home for the first time in their lives. It’s something they understand.” Nothing on the menu is more than $9 … that’s comfort for the wallet as well.
Restaurant Website: http://nhmeatballhouse.com/menu/
• The Detes: 1180 Chapel St. • 203-772-3360 • Open seven days a week. Since they are new they keep tweaking the hours. Right now they are Monday through Thursday, open at 5pm, Friday through Sunday open at 11:30am
• Price Range: Brioche sliders $3 each, meatballs with sauce $7, brioche sandwich $9.
• Style of Food: Grandma’s grub gets a makeover
• Favorite dish: Classic beef meatballs in tomato sauce, ice-cream and cookie sandwiches.
• Locally sourced: Ashley’s ice cream, bread from Lupi Marchigiano and Judies, cookies as well from Judies, Foxon Park soda
• Encouraged: Mixing and matching different balls, toppings, sizes and sides.
• Missing home? This place has the homesick college student in mind.