June 6, 2007 | BITE: My Journal

This Is One Spicy Meatball

 Linguine with monkfish polpete is the surprise hit of the evening. Photo: Steven Richter

    In a constellation of meatballs as charted Wednesday morning by the DiningOut seers of the New York Times, Sfoglia’s monkfish orb would be my moon.
    Don’t you love those hard-slogging, grease-stained cadets at the paper of record who command our foodie antennae, producing in effect an eye-popping, trend-divining journal, a near-magazine every Wednesday.  I found their “Exploding Meatball Universe,” especially juicy and satisfying – all that fun and no calories. And I’ve charted yet another gravitational force.
    Actually we had stopped by for supper after an ”Is It True New York Restaurants Are Better Than Ever?” panel at the 92nd Street “Y” across Lexington Avenue.  I admit I was frayed and exhausted by the counterculture restaurant bashing of my long time pal, panelist Bolshevik Arthur Schwartz…he wants to eat home…well, let him.

    Of course we all had to start with Sfoglia’s wondrous mussels. And then the new pasta on the early June menu (it evolves every two weeks): monkfish meatballs with linguine.
    Inspired partly by the anonymous fried fish balls peddled in the cichetti bars of Venice and partly by nostalgia for his grandmother’s seafood linguine, chef-owner Ron Suhanosky tickles his ground monkfish with a dose of bread crumbs (from wife Colleen’s mythic fresh-baked bread), then adds some ricotta, parsley and cured lemon zest.  Once fried, the savory balls nuzzle onto linguine tossed with a lemony fresh tomato sauce --  my nomination for the best dish of the week.  Certainly an inspired candidate for the Expanding Meatball Universe.

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