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meatball-el-jardin-promo.png El Jardin

Chefs get ball rolling for meatball momentum

The sphere of influence of the meatball is getting bigger and bolder as balls with attitude roll up to menus with a new swagger and maximum flavor impact.

Ground meat picks up speed with bolder flavors, luxurious ingredients and dramatic presentations.

Photo: Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse


$100 Wagyu meatball

Steve DiFillippo, founder, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, based in Philadelphia

Price: $100

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.

Photo: El Jardin



Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins, executive chef-partner, El Jardin, San Diego

Price: $24

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.

Photo: Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post


Wagyu croquette

O-Ku DC, Washington, D.C.

Price: $12

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.

Photo: Hwaban


Royal Galbi

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.

Contact Tara at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @Tara_Fitzie

TAGS: Chefs
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