Ground meat picks up speed with bolder flavors, luxurious ingredients and dramatic presentations.
$100 Wagyu meatball
Steve DiFillippo, founder, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, based in Philadelphia
Much the same as a Lexus or Rover will make a splash in the parking lot, this luxurious dish makes a statement. “This is no ordinary meatball,” said Steve DiFillippo, founder of the 10-unit concept. “The rich flavors are completely unmatchable.” The giant meatball is made with Wagyu beef blended with truffle Caciocavallo cheese, foie gras and truffles. Then, it’s bathed in a creamy Champagne-shallot sauce.
Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins, executive chef-partner, El Jardin, San Diego
Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins grew up on both sides of the Tijuana-San Diego border, and she credits her cross-cultural heritage with the “cocina mestiza” at her restaurant. For these spicy meatballs, Zepeda-Wilkins has added one of her mother’s kitchen hacks, A.1. Sauce, to the ground beef and pork blend that she also mixes with herbs, garlic and egg. She simmers the meatballs for two hours in a spicy tomato sauce, resulting in a rich and warming dish.
O-Ku DC, Washington, D.C.
A wagyu meatball is the prize inside this starter at O-Ku DC, a restaurant that focus on sashimi, sushi and robata dishes cooked over binchotan charcoal. This item is deep-fried, however, and served with four sauces: Béchamel sauce, sweet soy, tonkatsu sauce and a dot of rémoulade.
Mihyun Han and Key Kim, chefs and owners, Hwaban, New York City
Price: part of a $65 4-course prix-fixe menu
This meatball is made of beef short rib and sunchoke and is stuffed into king oyster mushrooms that are hollowed out to look like bone marrow. It’s one of the dishes from husband-wife team Mihyun Han and Key Kim at Hwaban, a newly opened modern Korean spot. It’s served with a quenelle of sunchoke purée.
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