Review of The Meatball Shack in Aspen: Dinner 8/7/12
-by Sydney M.
When dinner is at a place called The Meatball Shack, it’s only appropriate to invite three of your best guy friends and your brother to join you. After all, don’t males and meatballs go together like women and Cosmos? Located on South Mill Street, The Meatball Shack’s patio offers front row seats for the bustling action of the mall … if you can get a table. Our party settled for an indoor table in lieu of waiting an hour to be seated outside – just fine with us as the Olympics were being aired on the two flat screens at the bar.
The atmosphere inside the restaurant is very sports bar-ish – lots of noise and action around a bar that dominates the center of the room. I can definitely see the place getting a little rowdy during football season.
We decided to start our meal with buffalo chicken balls and truffle fries. These six “for the table” meatballs are half-sized, dripping with spicy buffalo sauce, and served with a side of blue cheese to calm the heat. The truffle fries, while not a standout (I’m pretty much an expert in this category, trust), were still tasty and not too greasy.
On the menu, the main course meatballs are comically labeled “Our Balls”. Patrons may mix and match four different types of balls – classic meat, chicken, shrimp, and veal – with four different sauces – housemade tomato, buffalo and blue, Zingara, and Marsala (“with lotsa shrooms”). I went with the chicken meatball/Zingara combo, which I found delicious. The Zingara, a tad picante olive and caper tomato sauce, nicely complemented the juicy and flavorful chicken. At $13, though, I definitely could have used more than three small balls.
My dinner companions enjoyed their entrees as well. While we all focused on meatballs, the menu also offers a couple of pasta dishes and salads. The quinoa bowl looked yummy, as did the brussel sprouts with pomegranate and the jalapeno pancetta mac and cheese.
We were on a bit of a time crunch, so had to forgo dessert. Given that the Meatball Shack has one of the most creative dessert menus that I have ever seen, passing on dessert was a tremendous sacrifice. Patrons who order the housemade cookie get to pick their own dough (original, fudge, or oatmeal) and then choose two fillings from an extensive list. Had I had enough time, I would have opted for the oatmeal dough with marshmallow and heath bar fillings. Even more decadent is the Highlands Bowl, a cookie dough of your choice plus three fillings and two scoops of ice cream! A dish to share… or not.
All in all, good company, good food, and friendly service. Maybe meatballs aren’t just a guy thing after all.
Sydney, an 9-year resident of Aspen, CO, is currently attending Brown University where she is majoring in Brunch. Her status as a “lactard” frequently interferes with, but does not overcome, her unmatched love for froyo and grilled cheese. Sydney enjoys traveling, photography, eating, eating while traveling, and photographing what she eats. She is always available for a lunch date.