The Baller Meatball Ball-Off: Lombardozzi’s Restaurant

Achievement: #22. Meatball Ball-Off

Back in January of 2009, Fox and I came up with the idea for 101 Achievements. We didn’t even have the blog yet; that would come the following year. We had just moved back from Los Angeles, and we were so grateful to have plentiful, cheap, and nearby activities that we made the biggest, most ambitious list of achievements we could think of. One of those achievements was to eat something at every single restaurant on Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield. And that was how we found Lombardozzi’s Restaurant.

Meatballs at Lombardozzi
The most flamboyant thing about Lombardozzi’s is either the neon signage outside…

Meatballs at Lombardozzi
…or the sweet frosted glass and intricate metal divider that separates the restaurant from the bar.

Meatballs at Lombardozzi
Otherwise, it’s a relatively sedate affair — the vibe is sort of a throwback to the time when men always wore suits and hats, without trying to be “hip.”

Meatballs at Lombardozzi
What Lombardozzi’s does have in spades, though, is delicious food — such as these meatballs! Look at those glistening treats; they’re practically begging to jump into your mouth.

So how’d these balls score, already? Let’s check it out on our 5-point ball-scale.

1) Size — They were on the small side — definitely intended as an addition or topping for a main course, which is how they’re usually served — but wow, those balls were dense.
2) Flavor — The flavor of the meat was distinct but complementary to the sauce. It packed a savory and herbaceous punch.
3) Sauce — Great quality; it had a nice balance of sweetness and acidity. It’s the kind of sauce you want to spoon up after the meatballs are gone and then clean the bowl with a piece of bread.
4) Presentation — Simple, family-style stuff, in keeping with the general feel of the place.
5) Ballerness — Well, not so baller. Like we just told you, it’s a low-key place, so kind of antithetical to the whole baller concept. They don’t trumpet their existence; in fact they’re not even listed as an à la carte item on the menu; you have to ask. So, these are not baller balls. They’re more the balls of an elder statesman; they may end up hanging a little lower than the top of our list, but they’ve still got real gravitas.

The final tally came to a quite respectable 4.4 out of 5. And incidentally, while that score won’t pin these balls to the top of our list, if we have another Italian food-off — say, the Parmy Chicken Parmesan-a-thon?

Meatballs at Lombardozzi
Lombardozzi’s will Shut. It. Down! We recommend this place for an affordable night out without any reservations — and on an early weeknight, you may not even need them!

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