The first of NE Glisan's blooming microrestaurant strip served their first guests yesterday - Adam Berger of Tabla's 24th and Meatballs, which serves primarily what you would imagine, invited a few lucky eaters in to train their staff and try out the menu. Today marks their official opening, and they're the first open of an impressive line-up of culinary veterans to sign leases in The Ocean, a communal restaurant hub that promises pop-up-esque eateries from the likes of Oswaldo Bibiano of Autentica and Mextiza, John and Capriel Pence, and Aaron Silverman of Tails and Trotters.
I refuse to slam a restaurant at their soft opening because that's just mean, but one had better hope that this kitchen would nail a basic meatball recipe for their namesake dish—and I wasn't disappointed. I tried the classic Italian balls with the tomato basil sauce (seemed like a good starting point) and they were everything a meatball should be—hearty, fragrant, and perfectly tender. Quality meats and appropriate seasonings rarely disappoint, and while I have no idea how the other three kinds of balls and sauces fare, the standard offering was delightful. The space is small but open, thanks to windows that line the entire east side and face picnic benches where one might enjoy a beer from their wide range of options. Bright color and old-school cartoons adorn the walls and make this an easy sell to neighborhood families. Other charming features of 24th and Meatballs include waffle balls with dipping sauces offered for dessert, a daily Kool-aid flavor for a buck per cup, and meatball sliders for just $2.5 each. Meatballs themselves are gluten free if you care, and vegan balls are also on the menu.
Also, there are balls jokes EVERYWHERE. Check out their nearest stop sign if you go.
I like their meatballs, I like the Ocean's incubator-esque concept, and I also like the sound of other restaurants going in next door. If this row of talent can manage to be a destination for NE/SE dwellers, I can see it working out—as it is, it might be difficult to stay afloat on foot traffic alone. I wish them the best of luck, and I can't wait to revisit their block as their neighbors open.
24th and Meatballs is on the corner of NE 24th and Glisan. They have not yet announced official hours, but check their website for updates.