Refreshing Salad, Pork Leg Meatballs & Housemade Seltzer at Northern Spy Food Co

Date July 12, 2010

Northern Spy Food Co

Through all my varied, sometimes indulgent, eating over the last three and a half years of NYC Food Guy’s existence, the meals that left the most lasting impression – no matter the cuisine – were comprised of fresh, flavorful ingredients allowed to shine in their near natural form.  Fresh, as it turns out, leaves you feeling better than deep fried.  This is why I left Northern Spy Food Co. Saturday smiling and fully satisfied.

Mom and Dad were right about eating your vegetables.  A salad ($9) crowned with a handful of firm, creamy feta over mesclun dressed in a balanced shallot-Dijon vinaigrette was enhanced by the presence of thinly sliced red onion, crisp strips of red and yellow pepper and cucumbers marinated in a white wine, sherry, sugar and water mixture which added nice bursts of tart than sweet flavor.  It all comes together with a pleasing crunch, reminding us how great fresh vegetable make you feel.

Northern Spy Food Co

After enjoying the spicy pork meatballs at the Meatball Shop, I was looking forward to trying Northern Spy’s all Heritage pork-leg version ($12/$17).  Three substantial pecorino-topped meatballs arrived in a shallow pool of delicate marinara pleasingly devoid of any chunks of garlic – it serves as both flavor and braising vehicle, ensuring a tender, crumbly meatball.  The overall flavor was intriguing, the bread crumbs within adding an addictive quality that led me to clean my plate – not with the dry and mainly flavorless caramelized shallot flatbread ($4) I ordered – but with my fork, finger and any spare bit of pork I could find in my bowl.

Northern Spy Food Co

I washed it all down with a housemade selzter, an questionable concept for a man who loves few things more than a crisp bottle of plain Vintage.  The cucumber mint ($4) was subtly flavored despite its Slimer-esque hue, the mint mellowed by the cucumber.  Other seltzer options include plain ($1), lemon lime ($3), blueberry ($4), Fuji apple lemon ($4), and coffee seltzer ($3, plus $2 more for a vanilla float).  I was tempted to try another flavor but I’ll save that for next time when I return for the famous chicken thigh, poached egg, chimichurri sandwich.

Northern Spy Food Co

511 East 12th Street b/t Ave A & Ave B
New York, NY 10009 Google Map

15 Responses to “Refreshing Salad, Pork Leg Meatballs & Housemade Seltzer at Northern Spy Food Co”

  1. Meatball Man said:

    Those meatballs look meat-tastic. Where are the best meatballs you’ve had in the city?

  2. pauly D said:

    unimpressed to say the least, food guy. you’re not what you used to be. $9 salads, videos, $17 meatballs? what happened to NYC’s most delicious and affordable food? This looks neither delicious nor affordable. get back to your roots.

  3. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Pauly D,

    For the record, I ordered the small order of meatballs for $12. Three for $12 is definitely not a great deal when it comes to affordability but sometimes you need to pay a bit more if you want to feel good after you eat. The first three years of this blog I was eating my heart out – literally – burgers, pizza, hot dogs, tacos. After all that eating and no exercise, you don’t feel great. This is the honest answer. It may not be very rock and roll but hey – if you want to pick up some of the slack, be my guest.

  4. paul said:

    At least he’s honest! (And I’m not “D”).

  5. Forchetta said:

    All I can say is YUMMMMMM!

  6. luluma said:

    The meatballs are huge and light. Well worth the $12.

  7. pauly D said:

    Who told you to eat all that crap and not do any exercise? $4 glasses of cucumber mint seltzer? do you think anyone in NYC on a tight budget is really interested in that?

    get on the treadmill, and get back to reviewing burgers, pizza, tacos, and cupcakes. if you’re going to change this site to nyc salad, there is probably a market for that — but we want a return to the greasy gluttony that made you who you are!

    – Pauly D

  8. Ren said:

    Pauly D,

    First of all, exercise doesn’t do shit about cholesterol. Secondly, what crawled up your ass and died? I’m pretty much an omnivore in the truest sense of the word-I can enjoy a fresh salad with Greek olives as much as I can enjoy a double bacon cheeseburger-good food is good food whether it’s fried or not. If your palate is limited well, that sucks for you, but NYCFG is reviewing restaurants and there are only so many burger and fry places. If this style of food’s not to your taste than, well, better luck next time.

  9. Allix said:

    Any thoughts on the mushroom sandwich? I’ve had my eye on that one for some time but haven’t tried it yet.

  10. pauly D said:

    Dr Ren, thank you for the medical advice. Now that I know about how useless exercise is, I can appreciate the salads and $4 seltzers. I’m sure you are an omnivore in the “truest sense” of the word. And if you truly enjoy an olive salad as much as a double bacon cheeseburger “than, well, better luck next time.” if i wanted reviews of your girlfriend’s weight watchers diet, i’d go to

    MORE GLUTTONY, LESS SALADS FOOD GUY!! The masses have spoken.

  11. paul said:

    My problem is not with the salad per se, but with the price. I don’t know how happy I’d be paying $9 for that. Same with the meatballs – they look good, but in NY you do NOT need to pay $4 a meatball to get a good one. Just remove the “affordable” from the NYCFG caption and we’re in business! Burgers, pizza and tacos does get boring without a little variety.

  12. Ren said:

    Pauly D,

    I’m not a guy or a lesbian, bro :-P. Haven’t you ever see Kill Bill-Ren’s a girl’s name. Additionally, I see you quoting my post but I have no idea what you’re saying to me-do you want to offer a translation? Not trying to start a post-war but now I’m just confused. I do understand the point about the affordability, but that doesn’t mean the food is bad.

    I wasn’t talking to you originally, but I understand the point about the affordability. NYC Food Guy does have a few other fairly expensive items on this site, though.

    Now to talk about the actual post: Mmmm, pork meatballs. Have to see if I can find a recipe somewhere-I want to try those.

  13. Jack said:

    Pauly D,

    You get what you pay for. A salad is $9 because it’s made up of fresh ingredients from (hopefully) local farms that actually care about what people eat. Same with the meatballs: good meat cost $$. Just as with most quality products. You want to pay $5 for meatballs, go ahead, but you’re getting $5 crap mass-produced, hormone-induced, slaughterhouse, meat that just might be poisoning you. But hey, it’s cheap, right.

  14. alex said:

    I appreciate you want to be on TV one day but it hurts having to wait 3 weeks for you to make your video posts. There are so many chubby jews who want to be Food Network faces – you may be better off going back to writing about cheap eats, at least in between videos.

  15. Kim said:

    I think the salad and the meatballs sound fantastic! Eat what makes you happy!

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