Restaurant Review // The Slotted Spoon

April 30, 2013
Niche restaurants are a dime a dozen.  Some find great success in having a limited menu focusing on a single item; others struggle to make their small menu shine as there are few places to hide inconsistencies and problems.  A couple months ago I stopped into the slotted spoon, a meatball eatery in the cherry hills neighborhood of denver, to see how a restaurant solely focused on meatballs stood up.  I cannot say I was very impressed.  All the elements seemed to be in place, a sleek website, a menu highlighting the noble meatball with global influences and an understated but approachable dining space.  It all felt so right but kitchen inconsistencies and menu options left me wishing for more from my meatball.

The menu is designed for diners to pick their meatball, vessels (which ranges from salad to hoagies and pasta) and then a sauce to create the perfect meatball meal.  However, there are endless combinations which left me confused and indecisive.  I like the idea of choices but when you are literally standing at the counter for 10+ minutes, I feel like less could be more.  In addition, all upgrade items like cheese, veggies and side dishes are all an extra cost, quickly increasing the cost of your meal.  I tried 4 meatballs and my meal was $20 which seemed pretty high for how small the portions were.

My favorite meatball on the menu was the italian pork topped with san marzano tomato sauce.  This combo had great flavor from the fennel seed, sweet grilled onion and fresh basil, plus, it kept its moisture when put between a hoagie roll.  Less thrilling combinations included the swedish salmon meatball filled with mustard and dill which was topped with a dollop of tzatziki creama.    The flavor was there but the ratio of meatball to sauce was completely off, making you wish there was an extra side of tzatziki to dunk your meatball into.  Sadly the colorado beef and adobo chicken followed suite with incredibly dried-out meatballs that lacked in flavor, even when topped with sauce.

With all new restaurants there is a growth period where kinks can get worked out and menu items adjust for the market.  There is no doubt that the slotted spoon is still in this phase as there is so much potential for this place.  I guess my whole point is, if you are going to have a restaurant completely based around one item, it better be pretty spot on.  I have high hopes that with a few adjustments and a bit more consistency in the kitchen, there could be something amazing in this meatball focused restaurant.  


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