Credit: Caroline Jones

The Sandwich: St. Juice’s Polpette di Parmi

Where: Sorellina, 2029 P St. NW (first floor)

Price: $13

Bread: White sub roll

Stuffings: House-made meatballs, Sorellina salsa rossa, fresh mozzarella and provolone cheeses, fresh basil

Thickness: 3.5 inches

Pros: A good meatball sub combines the richness of ground beef simmered in tomato sauce with the portability of a sandwich. But if the big balls are not perfectly placed within the roll or the bread gets soggy, the sub loses its structural integrity and before you know it, meatballs are rolling away—onto a plate, into your hand, or, worst of all, onto the ground. Sorellina solves this problem by shrinking its balls down to the size of a quarter. This gives the eater more meaty bites and makes the sandwich easier to eat, even if they look akin to the balls canned by Chef Boyardee. (The taste and texture are much better.)

Cons: The tomato sauce that coats every bite is slightly sweeter than expected. It’s not bad, but it is surprising. Given the amount of liquid this sandwich contains, the bread also gets a little too soft over time.

Sloppiness level (1 to 5): 5. Red sauce, two kinds of melted cheese, and a weakened roll make this sandwich nearly impossible to pick up. When you do pick it up, your hands, chin, and cheeks will be smeared with sauce. Given Sorellina’s chic white interior and excellent patio overlooking P Street NW, you may think this sandwich is too messy to eat in public. Who cares. Embrace the mess and enjoy yourself.

Overall score (1 to 5): 4.5. The sandwich tastes great but drops a few pegs due to its structural issues. For full enjoyment, a fork is required. Since Sorellina stays open late and serves fine Italian cocktails, you might as well get comfortable and give the sandwich the time and attention it deserves.

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