An Early Look at Meatballs

Citronelle, Central, Michel, and . . . Meatballs? For his latest restaurant, French chef Michel Richard is going in a new direction—an all-meatball shop in Penn Quarter.

Michel Richard’s new meatball joint is opening soon—maybe this week—in Penn Quarter. Photographs by Kyle Gustafson.

So here’s some good news: Meatballs, the upcoming meatball-focused venture from chef Michel Richard (Citronelle, Central), may open as early as Friday. Best Bites stopped by the 36-seat Penn Quarter location this morning, where a restaurant manager told us the doors will be open to the public as soon as Richard makes last-minute menu tweaks and final inspections are passed.

Meatball varieties at the casual new spot will include the traditional beef, plus lamb, crab, and lentil. Also: fried-chicken balls, similar to the nuggets in the lunchtime chicken bucket at Central. Diners will customize their plates Chipotle-style, lining up along a glass-enclosed counter where they can order their balls tucked into grinders and sliders or plopped atop salad with a Caesar-style dressing. The toppings list will include marinara and Parmesan-alfredo sauces, and among the side dishes are steamed broccoli, spinach, and the “sack of balls”—Richard’s take on tater tots.

Don’t worry guys, the ball jokes don’t stop there. Soon after opening there will be T-shirts for sale with slogans like “Don’t touch my balls” and “Don’t kick my balls,” and others balls—ping-pong, golf, gum—stacked in jars along a shelf. Non-spherical merchandise includes Richard’s cookbooks and new line of cookware. On Sunday nights the pots can be purchased as part of a full meatball meal serving eight to ten people for around $80. Come back with the pot on a second Sunday and Meatballs will fill it again for $60.

Also in the works is a liquor license—if everything goes as planned bottled brews and a limited wine selection will be available beginning a month or so after opening day.

Check back with us in the coming days for final menu and opening details.

Meatballs, 626 E St., NW (no phone number yet).

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.