***author’s note: since the first visit last spring that prompted this post, bar meatball has unfortunately closed its doors. do read on, though, to hear about the fond memories we’ll always keep of this local eatery!
this beautiful spring week we weaved our way to the neighborhood of virginia highlands for a lovely evening of dining at bar meatball. yes, a restaurant centered around the meatball. does it get more american than that? kyle had heard about it from eater.com, so we took a chance on a newer place in town, and i’d say it was worth the try.
bar meatball is located on greenwood avenue, just off the main drag of highland in this fabulous little neighborhood. i don’t make it to this area as often as i’d like; there are so many great spots here! bar meatball is actually new to the highlands this year. while we were waiting on the rest of our party to arrive, one of the employees was sharing a bit about the restaurant with us. the owner wanted to bring a breath of fresh air to this part of town, and what better way than a menu full of meatballs. the restaurant is casual and comfortable, quite inviting with all the windows and airy feel. i assure you that the open door and welcoming staff were certainly a good start to our night.
jamie, kyle, drew, and i grabbed drinks at the bar before being seated out on the terrace. the weather was so darn beautiful that i just had to request our table be outside! it’s like you’re dining on the porch of an italian family’s home with all those open windows. quite quaint! there are only a couple of tv’s in the main dining room, so the restaurant seems to be encouraging fellowship with your friends rather than consuming you in technology and media.
as the rest of the group joined us, our waiter daniel quickly arrived to fill the water glasses and introduce himself. the service, by everyone who works here, was “attentive, good-natured, and knowledgeable.” questions were welcomed as we started eyeing the menu. suggestions were also a must, since you can mix-and-match, depending upon what you are craving.
we started with a few orders of bread and calamari (delicious and light) across the tables while we got through the first round of drinks. the drink menu is modest but should have something to please everyone in your crowd. i enjoyed a couple of local brews (whose names i cannot remember but would certainly order again) as did some other folks at the table. abby, “the ibis wine connoisseur,” went for a glass of pinot grigio and jon took her lead, enjoying the refreshing and light taste. drew, the southern gentleman, kept it classy with a couple jameson and cokes.
all around our dinners soon arrived hot and swift. delightful little bowls of noodles and meatballs and all other sorts of goodies surrounded us. i hadn’t been able to decide on a build-your-own bowl so i ordered the combination number 3, exchanging the chicken and rosemary meatballs (which actually sounded delicious) for the classic beef. oh my, it was just wonderful. the mushroom gravy with crimini, porcini, and white truffle oil was so savory atop the parmesan mashed potatoes. oh, and that important ingredient, the meatballs? yes, they were also delicious. the ricotta is just a hint so that it doesn’t over-power the other seasonings. quite a great combination!
jon made a nice night out of our visit as well. his dinner included the zesty and light house salad and a custom pasta bowl. the sausage and peppers meatballs with the classic tomato sauce was a wonderful pairing and would have been better if only he’d remembered to order the pasta to go with it! but, “the meatballs were tender and crumbled into the sauce without much effort.” he used the focaccia bread to scoop up every last bite.
kyle had a dish similar to jon’s with the sausage and peppers meatballs, but he paired it with the bolo sauce and broccolini instead. his meatballs and sauce were “the perfect combination of juicy, sweet, with just a hint of flavorful heat.” the broccolini wasn’t bad either.
after our tables were cleared, we could not turn down the dessert menu. well, i couldn’t turn it down. i had seen online that they have homemade ice cream sandwiches. how can you refuse? you get to choose the cookie and then the ice cream, which i expect is everyone’s childhood desire. no? just me? well, we’ll just continue on then…i kept it classic with the double chocolate cookie and vanilla ice cream. the cookie was soft and decadent and so warm that i had to use my spoon to finish it. kyle also ordered this cookie and ice cream combination and was glad his fiancée kari had not come with us because if they had tried to split the sandwich, he would have regretted it immediately. it was so delicious he would have wanted more!
after our tabs were paid, the owner strolled over and asked us not to leave just yet. we obediently stayed in our seats, and soon daniel brought out two servings of zeppoles. what a fantastic surprise and an even more wonderful treat! zeppoles are fried italian doughnuts topped with powdered sugar. sound delicious? wait for it. they also come with a little bowlful of warmed nutella for dipping. uuuhhh, YES. they were piping hot and light and doughy and quite heavenly to be honest; i could have eaten the entire plateful myself, so it’s probably a good thing there were others with me to share.
throughout the meal, the owner had stopped by to check in and make sure we were satisfied. he was very appreciative that we were there that night to try out his new restaurant, and it made me smile that the care he has put into this place is so evident. bar meatball is a thoughtful restaurant, and the evening we had is evidence of that thought. i would highly recommend coming by bar meatball for a new and fresh dining experience. “bar meatball subscribes to the ki.s.s. method” by only focusing on the meatballs and doing that thing very well. go there on a date, go there with a group of friends, just be sure to go. there’s a good chance you’ll find some of us back there again; there’s just so much fun stuff to try!