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That Meetball Place in Patchogue: First bites

A spicy marinara blankets classic meatballs with fresh

A spicy marinara blankets classic meatballs with fresh rigatoni at That Meetball Place in Patchogue in February 2014. (Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick)

Huge, handsome and hip, That Meetball Place in Patchogue is a study in wood, brick and iron. High ceilings, a high decibel level and a high-top communal table amp up the vibe. Even the name of the place is a play on words: You go there to meet, have a ball and eat meatballs. All kinds, served in any number of ways.

On a recent evening, when the place reverberated with loud music and shouted conversation, I began dinner with two meatball sliders ($3 each). One was a “ball of fire,” made with ground pork, chorizo and black beans. Mildly spicy, but not incendiary, and pleasingly moist, it paired nicely with a bright marinara sauce.

The other, a seafood ball made with shrimp, cod, carrots and peppers, was more of a well-seasoned fish croquette than a real meatball; a pesto sauce, judiciously dabbed on, worked well. The only off note was a salad called “Brooklyn born burrata” ($14)  in which a perfectly lovely slab of fresh, creamy mozzarella met up with way too many items — grilled artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, tomatoes, roasted peppers, bacon and extra-virgin olive oil —  the whole thing drowning in — rather than drizzled with — a syrupy-sweet balsamic vinegar.

In marked contrast was a very good main course of plush, garlicky  “classic” meatballs (beef, pork and veal) over fresh al dente rigatoni in a spicy marinara sauce ($14).  

That Meetball Place is at 54 W. Main St., Patchogue, 631-569-5888, thatmeetballplaceli.com.

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