There’s nothing subtle about Scottsdale’s new restaurant Meatballz Inc. The goofy name fits the vibe of the space, with its in-your-face murals proclaiming “Save water, drink beer” and “Grab life by the ballz.” Is the concept lowbrow genius or aggressively corny? That’s for you to decide — over saucy gourmet meatballs, loaded fries, and drinks.
The “z” in “meatballz” seems to be a nod to co-owner Bob Zdravkovski, who soft-launched the restaurant with fellow restaurateur Michael Lee in July. Meatballz Inc. has been serving an abbreviated version of the menu, but moved to the full thing following its September 8 grand opening.
Don’t expect to find heaping plates of spaghetti here. The eponymous, roughly golf ball-sized meatballs aren’t just a pasta topping but rather the star of the show. (You can get noodles for $6. But this option is tucked away in the sides section.)
Instead, try the beef, spicy pork, chicken, or vegan balls in a variety of ways. Get them a la carte ($4 each) and smothered in your choice of sauce, such as mushroom, chicken gravy, marinara, Bolognese, or Buffalo. Put it on a buttery bun to make a slider for $5. Upgrade to a $12 grinder to get two saucy balls on a hoagie roll with smoked Gouda or white cheddar.
Sharing with friends is ideal so that everybody can try different versions. For the ultimate indulgence at this spot, get meatballs in one of five bowls with addictive combinations of grease, salt, and fat. The loaded mac bowl, for instance, is packed with mac and cheese, bleu cheese, Parmesan, bacon, scallions, and breadcrumbs ($15). Or add meatballs to poutine, featuring sturdy fries covered in rich mushroom gravy and cheese curds ($12).
On the lighter side, Meatballz Inc. has three salads ($10 to $13), but honestly, make it a cheat day for best results. Get a serving of vegetables with the crispy Brussels sprouts appetizer, tossed with roasted garlic, bacon, and browned butter sauce ($8). That’s about as close to healthy as you want to get.
Meatballz Inc. has a full bar with wine, cocktails, and beer in bottles and rotating drafts on tap. Naturally, beer pairs very well with all the food. The place even pours a Meatballz IPA made by Four Peaks. It’s a smooth and tasty English-style brew, notably less bitter than other IPAs can be.
With its irreverent mood and cheffed-up comfort food, Meatballz Inc. makes a solid place to pad your stomach at the start of a night out,or a good cap to a long day with an indulgent happy hour. Bring a pup for the patio and some pals, and loosen your belt.
Meatballz Inc. 7342 East Shea Boulevard, # 111, Scottsdale; 480-306-8600.
Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday to Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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