The Baller Meatball Ball-Off: Emporio at Sienna Mercato

Achievement: #22. Meatball Ball-Off

Last month, we wrote up the first installment of the 2015 Baller Meatball Ball-Off, chronicling a trip to Franktuary.

Of course, Franktuary’s balls are not their main feature; they’re really just there to augment their impressive array of wieners. For round two, we decided to visit a specialist.

Meatball Ball-Off: Emporio
On the first floor of downtown’s Sienna Mercato is Emporio, a self-described “meatball joint.”

Meatball Ball-Off: Emporio
If you look at the menu, you can see that here, meatballs truly get star treatment. With four kinds of meat, nine kinds of sauce, four kinds of presentation, and an extra “daily ball” special, you’ve got 112 ways to enjoy meatballs at Emporio.

Meatball Ball-Off: Emporio
For our judging, we decided to get an order of the Saucy Balls, because of course we would order Saucy Balls! We opted for the classic beef variety, and at the suggestion of our server, tried out the spinach-almond pesto as our sauce.

Meatball Ball-Off: Emporio
In addition, because of the novelty factor, we decided to also taste Emporio’s daily ball. That day’s special was a turkey cordon bleu meatball, or, if you’re into whole the brevity thing, a turkey cordon bleuball. Nomenclature aside, and it had a honey-dijon sauce and these crispy crouton shavings that were to die for. This we had served as a slider.

So how did Emporio’s balls score? Let’s go to the chart.

1) Size — these were some seriously dense and hearty balls, but not so big that they were unmanageable.
2) Flavor — for both of our orders, the actual ball flavor was pretty well masked by the sauce. The meat didn’t really have enough distinct personality to stand out from its pairing. That said…
3) Sauce — both sauces were amazing. The pesto was especially flavorful while managing to be lighter than expected. We were glad our server suggested it!
4) Presentation — the presentation was quite nice; the metal serving bowls gave our food a sort of “family-style” feel, reminding me of many a meal from my youth.
5) Ballerness — these were swoosh, nothing-but-net ballin. Like, so baller that Bieber would stuff his Calvins with ’em.

Final verdict? Emporio might be on the ground floor, but its score was sky-high: a 4.5 out of 5.

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