BALL & CHAIN
WHERE MEATBALLS RULE THE ROOST
You have to give restaurateur Mark Kreiner a lot of credit for keeping things interesting. His Los Feliz gastropub The Morrison is an adventurous journey in Scottish fare, and his new spot, Ball & Chain, along the Cahuenga Boulevard corridor, is an ode to all things meatballs.
A gourmet meatball restaurant and bar, Ball & Chain features over 20 rotating Californian craft beers on tap and 125 unique beers by the bottle. Chef Michael Ruiz is sporting an ever-changing menu with customizable meatballs: choose your meat (beef, pork, turducken, veggie), sauce (marinara, cheese, pesto, mushroom gravy) and style (slider, grinder, side stalker, a la carte or sixer) with meat and sauce specials that vary each week.
During our recent visit for dinner, we went meatball happy mixing and matching balls, sauces and styles. We skipped the most obvious choice, spaghetti and meatballs (you can also choose brown rice if you want a healthy option) for more creative ways to enjoy our meatballs. Fun fact: all the meatballs are actually gluten free.
The game plan at Ball & Chain is simple: choose a ball; choose a sauce; and choose your style. Ball options include beef, which is actually a mix of Angus beef, pork, and garlic herbs; Pork, which is pork, chorizo, spice and garlic; Turducken, a turkey, duck, chicken and herbs combo; and veggie, which is butternut, quinoa and chickpea.
Styles vary from sliders (one ball, one sauce, one bun); to the grinder (3 balls, sauce and cheese on a roll), side stacker (three balls on a side with sauce; ball-a-carte (four balls all sauced up); and ball flight. We opted for the ball flight to taste all the menu’s meatballs. While I couldn’t wait to try the Turducken, I have to say the beef and pork were my favorites. The veggie was slightly disappointing.
Sides-wise, get the Brussel Balls—a terrific dish of greens with balsamic, garlic and nuts. And the Meatball Poutine, prepared with balls, gravy and cheese curds, was really forward thinking—pretty impressive.
Kudos to the Ball & Chain team for coming up with so many choices. This isn’t just a meatball sandwich shop, there are so many variations to choose from, including meatballs with creamy polenta, or sautéed greens.
And make sure not to skip dessert. We almost did since we went meatball overboard at dinner but luckily, by pure happenstance, we decided to give the Donut Balls a chance and paired it with Angel City White Night white stout. This was sheer genius! Talk about an ideal match, simply perfect. Do yourself a favor and get it this way, even if that’s all you get (you can’t top a night out in better fashion).
Whether you’re starting your night on the town with meatballs and beer, or in need of hearty nourishment to sober up, Ball & Chain has what you need.
Ball & Chain is located at 1643 N. Cahuenga Blvd. Hours: Sun-Thurs 12pm to 12am; Fri-Sat 12pm to 2am. Call 323-465-2255.
Photography By: Mark Duttweiler
Story by: Jose Martinez