If a meatball has no meat, is it still a meatball? This question ran through my brain on a visit to The House of Meatballs in Westwood Village. Created by the same family behind Da Pasquale, House of Meatballs brings the New York meatball craze to the West Coast.
At House of Meatballs, you can build your own dish, selecting a ball, sauce and then a plate. Each type of balls comes three to an order, no mixing up types. My pesco-vegetarian husband was intrigued by the Popeye balls (spinach, tofu and almonds), only to be told that they were out. This left the other vegetarian ball option – the Sicilian (eggplant, smoked mozzarella and panko). The Sicilian balls were fine, kind of like eating an eggplant parmesan in ball form.
The standard plate comes with a homemade roll, so you can make yourself a sandwich or use the bread to mop up the sauce.
I opted for the Big Bad Wolf balls, a nod to the infamous villain of the Three Little Pigs story, pork, rosemary and cayenne pepper. I was a little disappointed to discover that the pork meatballs were dense, with some cheese stuffed inside, and not that flavorful.
I chose gnocchi for my plate, a $3 add on charge. I had considered getting pasta, but after thinking how much pasta I could make at home for $3, gnocchi emerged as the logical choice. It was a good choice too, the little puffs of potato were light and airy. The real winner of both of our dishes was the Spicy Mama arrabiata sauce. I loved the sauce so much that I couldn’t stop eating it, even though it was a little spicy for me. I just drank glass after glass of water, while commandeering my husband’s roll to catch every last bit of sauce left in my dish.
It’s kind of surprising that with a restaurant called House of Meatballs, my least favorite part of the meal were the balls themselves. There are other options like appetizers, salads, pastas and entrees (fish, lamb, chicken and veal) on the menu, as well. Chances are, the next time I eat here I’ll skip the meatballs and get a pasta dish since the pasta and sauce were the best part of my meal.
Oh, and while I never figured out an answer to whether a veggie meatball can still be called a meatball, I did realize this. House of Meatballs makes a much better restaurant name than House of Balls.
Location – 1076 Gayley Ave., Los Angeles, 90024
Website – http://housemeatballs.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Pesco-Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options –Yes