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  1. Peanut-butter-cookie sandwich (Photographs: Caroline Voagen Nelson)

Best balls-out endeavor: The Meatball Shop


Typically, we don't buy into restaurants that run on gimmicks, and at first, the Meatball Shop certainly seemed like one of them. Offering a mix-and-match selection of meatballs (such as spicy pork and beef), sauces (two types of tomato), sides (fluffy polenta, mashed potatoes) and treatments (as a hero? in a slider?) presented on a dim-sum-style menu that requires check marks to just seemed too cute. Boy, were we mistaken. The subway-tiled eatery is much more attractive than it has to be, the hoagie is a classic, and the place is run with a sense of humor that makes it irresistible. But perhaps the best thing on offer isn't even a meatball—it's the peanut-butter-cookie sandwich, a melty delight with rich caramel ice cream. The Meatball Shop 84 Stanton St at Allen St (212-982-8895)

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