This is not a formal review, but rather an off-the-cuff first-impressions-style riff on a brand-spankin’ new D.C. restaurant.

Michel Richard‘s hugely ballyhooed Meatballs had barely opened (I counted 17 people in line, 13 seated at tables) and already staffers were telling folks that they had run out of the lentil variety around 11:30 a.m. on Thursday. No worries. Y&H wasn’t particularly interested in that particular type of orb, anyway. I came for the real deal, ordering up the classic beef ball (four of ’em per order) on a garlic-y grinder. The seasoned bread came pre-toasted and already charred along the edges. Adding mozzarella meant it was headed back into the toaster to melt the cheese, making for one crispy, crunchy baguette when it was finally ready. Maybe too crunchy.

My biggest concern, however, was the meatballs themselves. I’d previously heard good things about the pork and chicken meatballs at the also greatly hyped ShopHouse and walked away rather underwhelmed: the spheres didn’t taste like meat at all—-they tasted like falafel. Thankfully, Richard’s version stays true to the fine print of his storefront signage (“meat”) in addition to the bigger brash descriptor (“BALLS”).

Total price of sandwich plus fountain drink: $12.41.

Photos by Chris Shott