Thursday, January 26, 2012


Meatballs is the much talked about and newly opened fast-casual restaurant from Michel Richard, the celebrated French toque behind acclaimed fine-dining destinations Citronelle in Georgetown and Central in Penn Quarter, as well as the newly opened Central Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace.  Serving a variety of meatballs with either pasta, salad or in a sandwich, Meatballs misses the mark in my book.  Closest Metro is Archives - Naval Memorial.

The space is small with a large menu on the wall to guide you in the ordering process.  Reinforcing the self-service restaurant's theme is a display of spheres below the food counter: ping-pong balls, marbles, jawbreakers, tennis balls and holiday decorations.  I opted for the chicken meatballs in whole wheat pasta with mushroom sauce.  Keith chose the classic grinder with marinara sauce and added mozzarella cheese. The first thing I noticed was the noodles were pre-portioned out in a bowl causing them to be a solid clump.  The sauce was overly salty,  barely lukewarm, and the meatballs were dry.  Keith's sauce was also cold, a true sin in his book, yet he found the meatballs themselves to be quite tasty and seasoned well.

I agree with Tom Sietsema's review: " clever as the concept sounds, the execution leaves an unfortunate taste in my mouth. If a business is going to specialize, it has to do that one thing right. The meatballs I've tried have been inconsistent: sometimes dense, sometimes pasty in the center, sometimes mute. They miss the texture that develops when meat is seared or caramelized. "  Keith seems to feel that if everything was just served hotter, it would have tasted better.  I am hesitant to return anytime soon as I just found the whole thing disappointing and not worth my $10.

Total Rating: 2.78
Food: 2.5, Price: 3, Service: 2.5, Ambience: 3, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
with whole wheat pasta and mushroom sauce

Plus Keith ate:

grinder with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese

   Meatballs on Urbanspoon

*UPDATE: This restaurant closed on June 30, 2012.

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