The New MTBLLS NYC Cart is just O-K

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Last week, we told you about the new meatball cart that’s been popping up in the neighborhood. It often hangs out on 49th and 6th Avenue, but on Friday I discovered it on the strangely quiet stretch of 47th and Vanderbilt. This is the street that recently became off-limits to food trucks thanks to an unsurprising crackdown. ┬áIn their place now are a few fancy, colorful food carts serving things like philly cheesesteaks, gourmet sandwiches, and meatballs.

The street wasn’t nearly as crowded as it was when there were seven or so trucks huddled up against each other. The line for MTBLLS NYC moved pretty quickly and I got my food in under 10 minutes. They offer three different balls (beef, chicken, veggie) in a few different situations – bowl, baguette, roll, or slider.

In the baguette, I was allowed to try all the three ball varieties – and I would have if they weren’t out of their veggie ball (made of eggplant and carrots) for the day. So I got two beef and one chicken. The guys also topped the sandwich with two of their sauces (romesco and francaise) and both ricotta and pecorino cheese.

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I must say that I found the balls an adequate size – just about each bite contained a meatball – and the experience to be rather filling. But the flavors were disappointingly lackluster and this sandwich by itself is not worth $10.

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While the bread was soft and I liked that there was cheese baked onto the bottom of it, the meatballs were totally forgettable. Chicken was bland and dry, as expected. And the beef had too much filler for my tastes. If I had closed my eyes and tasted it, I’m not sure I would have guessed that it was actually beef.
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The ricotta cheese was a nice touch, but the sauces were lacking. First off, there should have been much more sauce. A meatball hoagie should not be dry in places. Secondly, I’m not sure the sauces are exactly as advertised. Romesco sauce is traditionally a red pepper and almond sauce, but the guy on the cart told me their version does not contain nuts, but instead tomatoes. So I wasn’t really sure how it differed much from their marinara.
Also, the promised francaise was completely impossible to detect. I did watch them garnish the hoagie with a sweet blasamic drizzle. Could this be their version of a francaise?
Having said all this, I can’t say that anything tasted bad here. It’s just not up to par with what I expect from a $10 meatball sandwich. According to Twitter, it looks like they plan to re-visit 47th Street again today.

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