Monday, August 29, 2011

Figo's New Meatball Menu

As an avowed carb-nazi I rarely eat at Figo, the local make your own pasta chainlet. That's why I was so excited to learn they have amped up their protein offerings with a new meatball menu!

We were lucky enough to attend Figo's veritable meatballaplaooza to sample their new meaty wonders. The Howell Mill location where we dined has an actual meatball bar, a creative twist on the mozzarella bar (if you've never been the the Osteria Mozza version, you're missing out!). At the meatball bar, you can choose from five meatballs and five dipping sauces, such as peperoni gialli, salsa verde or balsamic barbecue.

When Figo's charming owner and honest to goodness Italian, Sandro Romagnoli, told us we'd be stuffed when we left, I figured that after a few plates of meatballs I would indeed be pretty full. And as we plowed through plate after plate of all five meatball bar menu varieties, I tried to pace myself.

My honey, the grandson of Italian immigrants makes a damn fine meatball, so I have pretty high expectations in that department. Surprisingly, my favorite choice wasn't very Italian at all - the Ya'll, a combination of pork and bacon sausage, corn, bbq sauce and collard greens. Dip that in some barbecue sauce, and you're in business.

Just when I thought I had done a very reasonable job of not getting too full, more plates started arriving. Turns out you don't have to go to Howell Mill to get meatballs, there are also meatballs available on the regular menu, it's just not the same meatball platter and sauce set up. The main menu includes a more classic take, the Nonna Maria and one of my personal faves, the Alba, a beef meatball with potatoes, onions and white truffle. I loved the rich truffle flavor which took an already hearty dish to another heavenly level.

You talkin' to me?
Wow, Romangnoli warned us, but I could never have imagined that we weren't even close to done. Out came steaming platters of pasta, heaping bowls of salad, bruschetta, and even multiple kinds of cake. By the end, I'm ashamed to admit, I couldn't even complete entire meatballs. I just had to nibble to get a sense for them lest I explode into a meat-flecked heap.

I'm on a list kick lately, so here are the top five things I love about the meatballs at Figo experience:
  1. Romangoli is legit Italian. Yes I am the kind of snob who likes Figo better now that I know that, and the fact that he's totally charming helps, too. Turns out he initially swore that he'd never do meatballs since they're largely an American invention. So glad he changed his mind!
  2. There's something for everyone (in a good way). They stick to what they know (casual Italian) but vary it enough with other influences (see Ya'll meatball above) that you can enjoy a meal there even if you're not really feeling Italian that day.
  3. The price is right. At $3.95 for 3 or $6.95 for 7 (one meatball and two dipping sauces), you can get a good sized meal that will please just about anyone without breaking the bank.
  4. You don't have to commit to a full meal. The meatball bar is perfect for meeting friends or just having after work nibbles. Grab a pitcher of sangria and some mix and match 'balls and sauces and enjoy.
  5. Their desserts are no joke. I have a long standing hatred of lemon-flavored desserts, and even I was impressed by how light and lovely the torta della nonna was, a pastry topped with lemon pastry cream, pine nuts and almonds. If I could just have that same dish in say almond or vanilla flavor, it would be heaven!
1210 Howell Mill Rd
Atlanta GA 30318

Osteria Del Figo on Urbanspoon

*Full disclosure: Although my meal was comped, I always endeavor to offer my unbiased opinion of the experience!



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