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Posted at 10:46 AM ET, 11/30/2011

Penn Quarter’s ‘purveyors of rounded meat’


A classic meatball grinder with tandoori sauce from Meatballs, Michel Richard's fast-casual Penn Quarter eatery. (Alex Baldinger)

I’ll admit to a certain degree of skepticism when I walked into Michel Richard’s newest establishment, Penn Quarter’s Meatballs, for dinner on Thanksgiving eve.

For one thing, there’s something off-putting about walking past a glass window emblazoned with the word BALLS that could give any diner pause before a meal. And then there’s the issue of the establishment’s questionable parentage, as reported by the City Paper.

Regardless, I do love meat, whether it’s in slab, patty or, yes, orb form, so it was with gusto that I tried to order a modestly outlandish combination of meats and sauces, just to see what would happen when I combined the classic meatball with a garlic-buttered hoagie and tandoori sauce. Because why not, right?

I took my first bite of the glowing neon beast and, well, let’s just say that my experience was slightly more positive than Tom Sietsema’s in his First Bite write-up today.


Mmmm...rounded meat. The reflection of the light in the window obscures the word ‘meat’ above the middle L. (Alex Baldinger)

First, a quick glance at the basics: There are five types of meatballs available, starting at $8.99, including lamb, crab, chicken and those made from lentils. If you’re not in the mood for the bread, opt for the bucatini, mixed greens, slider buns or polenta. In addition to tandoori, there are marinara, red pepper, mushroom and alfredo sauces to pick from. Add sweet or hot peppers, provolone, mozzarella, parmesan or Fritos as toppings. I don’t know why you would toss those on, really, but you can. Pedestrian tater tots are available as a side, too.

Here’s what Sietsema had to say his his First Bite write-up today:

“The food on my table -- dense beef meatballs, mixed greens you might find at 30,000 feet, crab balls that tasted a day away from the shore -- remained largely uneaten; the dirty tables around me remained in that condition too long. For such a new business, Meatballs felt unsupervised and less than fresh. Still hungry, my partner in crime and I made a beeline for the finest Indian food I know, just around the corner.

‘The best thing about lunch at Meatballs,’ he said an hour later, ‘is going to lunch afterward at Rasika.’ ”

Read Sietsema’s full blow-by-blow here.

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A chicken meatball grinder with roasted red pepper sauce and fresh mozzarella. (Alex Baldinger)

By  |  10:46 AM ET, 11/30/2011

Categories:  Restaurants

 
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