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A few weeks back, Y&H questioned Mark Bucher, founder of BGR: The Burger Joint and Medium Rare, about his involvement in the new Meatballs restaurant in Penn Quarter. Bucher denied any official involvement—-despite records filed with the District’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration identifying him as the 100-percent owner of the business. Bucher claimed he was just helping his friend, James Beard Award-winning chef Michel Richard, whom he identified as the face of the project.

Today, WaPo food critic Tom Sietsema jumps into the Meatballs ownership mystery in his “First Bite” column:

When I reached out to Bucher for a comment, it was Jonathan Theriault, the general manager at Meatballs, who returned the call. “It’s all Michel Richard,” he replied when I asked about Bucher’s role. But what about Bucher’s signature on the records? “Michel is too busy to do all that himself.”

Regardless of who’s actually behind the hugely hyped meatball shop, Sietsema seems pretty nonplussed with the finished project, calling the eatery’s signature spheres “inconsistent: sometimes dense, sometimes pasty in the center, sometimes mute.” The critic ends his initial take with a savage quote from a friend: “The best thing about lunch at Meatballs…is going to lunch afterward at Rasika.”

Photo by Chris Shott