Meat the Ball

2502 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix

“This is so good!” 

These are the words I kept repeating to my friend while we were having lunch at Meat the Ball. When I first heard the name, I was half-expecting a plate full of meatballs slathered in marinara or barbecue sauce. That couldn’t have been further from what was set on the table. 

The smell of garlic bread beckons to you 20 feet before you get to the immense glass door and enter into Meat the Ball’s dining room. 

The interior is retro-quaint, with exposed ceilings, red and white tiles and mirrored walls. There is a small bar situated in the middle, with mint-colored booths lining the walls. There’s also a patio, but no one wants to risk baking in the sun at this time of year while enjoying a meal – at least during the day. 

This is the first location for Meat the Ball; the creator is also the man behind Pomo Pizzeria and Mora Italian. Every item on the menu is made in-house, from the pasta, to the bread, to the hand-crafted cocktails. The dishes are locally sourced and if it can’t be found in America, the product is imported from Italy. That’s how serious these guys take their meatballs. 

We kicked things off with a few appetizers: the prosciutto bruschetta, charcuterie board and the cheesy garlic focaccia with whipped herb crema. The focaccia was your typical cheesy-bread staple, with the smell of garlic making my mouth water and the crema smooth as butter. 

The charcuterie board transported my mind to a breezy patio, wishing I had a glass of vino and a view of the ocean. The pièce de résistance of the appetizers was, however, the prosciutto bruschetta. Toasted bread, a generous spread of whipped mascarpone, figs and a honey drizzle made this “snack” feel like we should have saved it for dessert. 

The next order of business was meatballs. From the server’s recommendation, we chose both the short rib and salmon meatball options – two of the most popular dishes. First off, the meatballs are colossal. None of those backyard cookout crock pot meatballs here. 

I was a little wary of a salmon “meatball,” but after my first bite, all bad thoughts melted away. Lightly breaded and settled in a lemon-dill butter sauce, the salmon wasn’t the overpowering kind that you’d get at a seafood restaurant. Mild and lemony, I literally closed my eyes and leaned back in my chair; it was that good. 

As for the short rib: think of a shredded beef sandwich wrapped neatly in a ball, covered in gravy with a side of mashed potatoes. Thanksgiving dinner also comes to mind – but an elegant Thanksgiving, with the fancy china dishes and linen napkins. I almost felt bad for shoving a huge portion in my mouth. Almost. 

Other meatball options include chicken, spicy cauliflower and the classic, made with grass-fed beef and Niman Ranch pork. Meat the Ball also offers salads, pasta dishes, sandwiches and dessert. Drink options include standard cocktails such as the mule or margarita and three local (and one Italian!) draft beers. 

Meat the Ball will also open a new location at the end of August at Scottsdale Promenade.