15. On The Thirty Balls of Meat: The name of Shawn Kerwin and Justin Urich’s sleek Sherman Oaks gastropub refers to the 30 wines by the glass, and 30 beers on draught, but don’t sleep on the bar food, including their Balls of Meat ($8). These meatballs are 80% beef, 20% pork, packed with shaved fennel and thyme, and served in cast iron skillet with buttery toasted brioche and rich, dark red marinara sauce.
16. Pizzeria Mozza Meatballs Al Forno: At the most casual cog in the Mozza Restaurant Group compound, Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, Nancy Silverton, and culinary lieutenant Matt Molina serve some scintillating starters, including Meatballs Al Forno ($11). The mixture, which includes pork butt, veal, pancetta, day-old bread, milk, eggs and more, cook in the wood-burning oven and come with shaved Parmesan and crostini to scoop up the luxurious pomodoro sauce.
17. Scopa Italian Roots Meatball Hero: At this fashionable Italian restaurant in Marina del Rey, chef Antonia Lofaso commands a sprawling menu, with some dishes that relatively complicated, and others that are pure comfort, like the Meatball Hero ($13). She crafts juicy meatballs from chuck and tenderloin, tops with creamy burrata, showers the whole shebang with sharp Parmesan cheese, and serves the components on a soft hoagie roll.
18. Sotto Meatballs: My slight preference is for their Polpette di Capra ($13), goat meatballs that Steve Samson and Zach Pollack prepared for a pairing dinner with Donkey and Goat Winery. Those balls featured funky grilled goat with braised escarole, pine nuts, currants, and sugo. Still, their grilled pork meatballs ($11) with sharp Pecorino, snap peas and bitter greens are still really, really good, and they’re always available at Sotto.
19. Spring St Bar Meatball Sandwich: This bar has one of the better craft beer selections downtown, and their sandwiches ($9) are uniformly good, served on toasted sesame bread with a choice of chips, cucumber quinoa salad, or potato salad. Their Meatball Sub touts huge herb-flecked pork meatballs, marinara, smoked mozzarella, and spicy peppers.
20. Stella Barra Pizzeria Organic Pork Meatballs: LEYE filled the old BoHo space by the Cinerama Dome. Chef Jeff Mahin presides over this open kitchen, among others, and features Organic Pork Meatballs ($11.95) with pork butt braised in organic Roma tomato sauce, each ball draped with glistening lardo and dressed with basil and oregano.
21. The Sycamore Kitchen Pork Ricotta Meatballs: The industrial chic café from chefs Karen Hatfield and Quinn Hatfield frequently runs meatball specials, which might include Pork and Ricotta Meatballs ($8). A cast iron skillet hosts six crisp-crusted, deep-fried orbs crafted primarily from pork shoulder. Ricotta (house-made, of course) and fresh pain de mie breadcrumbs also contribute to their surprisingly light, juicy texture. Sprinkled rosemary is a nice finishing touch. An accompanying dish of salsa cruda combines shallots and garlic (cooked in olive oil) with raw tomato, basil and parsley, adding complementary brightness to the balls. Crispy crostini slices, which are fun to dip in the salsa cruda, round out the skillet.