Wednesday, June 3

Mondo Meatball

Wicker Park has a new meatball joint and it's unlike any place you've probably been around town. I've always been a fan of the do-one-thing-and-do-it-well model, and that's the type of approach Mondo Meatball takes. The casual eatery features a variety of meatball options in several formats, allowing you to easily customize your meal. I'll admit I thought Mondo was a fast casual restaurant until my friend Lexi and I showed up and realized it was a table service joint.

Mondo Meatball
Mondo Meatball Menu
The menu is broken up into four sections and is ridiculously easy to follow. The hard part? Deciding which types of meatballs and sauces to go with. First you choose the style of your meal including a bowl with four meatballs, salad, sub, sliders, or a big bowl over pasta, polenta, or mashed potatoes. Then you pick your meatball types, classic beef, turkey, spicy pork, chick'n bacon, veggie or the ball of the day (which was an andouille sausage the night we dined). The meatball recipes come from founder Dean Casagrande's family recipes, so you know there's a lot of love baked in. Next you pick your sauce from a variety of options including classic red, pesto, dijonnaise, Thai peanut, chimichurri, or tzaziki. There's literally a flavor for every palate! Still hungry? You can also add a side such as mashed potatoes, risotto, veggies, or a salad. Yes this is carb city (good thing I was running a race the next day!).

We decided to get a variety of foods so we could get a good read on the different meatball, sauce, and side options.

Mondo Meatball
Mondo Meatball Spread
First was the mini-Mondo sampler with three meatball sliders. We tried the classic beef with classic red sauce, turkey with guaca-acado, and spicy pork with chimichurri, at the recommendation of our server. All three were so different in flavor, but the spicy pork and classic meatballs were favorites. The sampler also came with a huge mixed green salad (you gotta balance all that meat!).

Mondo Meatball
Mini-Mondo Sampler
Next we tried Mrs. C's classic beef meatballs with classic red sauce in a plain bowl so we could really taste the flavor in the meat and sauces. The classic combo was well done and was ultimately the winner for both of us.

Mondo Meatball
Classic Beef Meatball Bowl
We couldn't get enough of the classic beef meatballs so we also tried them in a bowl with pasta and the summer red sauce. The summer red sauce is vegetarian, has more tomato and is lighter in consistency than the classic red sauce.

Mondo Meatball
Classic Meatball Pasta Bowl
To top things off, we tried a side of mashed potatoes covered in fluffy Parmesan cheese. The dish was filled with pillowy soft potatoes but the cheese definitely overtook them. If you didn't look hard enough, you'd think this was just a dish of cheese (that's not necessarily a bad thing!).

Mondo Meatball
Mashed Potatoes
Mondo Meatball also serves beer, wine and cocktails, as well as a selection of Black Dog Gelato. I thought everything was a great value and the restaurant is certainly a novel addition to the popular stretch of Milwaukee Avenue in which it resides. While some meatballs and sauces could have used more oomph, we both enjoyed the classic beef and red sauce and would recommend trying those in a bowl or sandwich.

Note: my meal at Mondo Meatball was complimentary; however, the opinions expressed herein are my own.

Mondo Meatball
www.mondomeatball.com
1467 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
773.278.5959
Mondo Meatball on Urbanspoon

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