8. Triangle Tavern

TRIANGLE TAVERN, 1338 South 10th St., East Passyunk.

Years back, I used to visit the Triangle a couple of times a year to drink cheap beer and watch an elderly lounge singer who actually removed his false teeth (and occasionally his shirt) before bursting into a Tony Bennett tune. Good times.

The Triangle closed for a while, and the old singer  . . . well, I can only imagine where he is now. A piece of post-Prohibition Philadelphia was gone. Until about eight years back, when new ownership restored the South Philly corner bar, bulked up the beer list and attached a decent Italian-food kitchen. Oh, and a great music system that, in the middle of the afternoon, was blasting out Muddy Waters and the Kinks.

My eating partner on this day enjoyed some excellent linguini in white clam sauce and a frosty Lagunitas Pils. So far, so good. I ordered the $9 meatball sandwich, which came with three ice-cream-scoop-sized balls on a crusty roll. Plenty of sauce, plenty of cheese.

And plenty of disappointment. The Triangle employs the common mix of beef-veal-pork, although I tasted the pork more than anything. Problem is, on this day the meatballs came to the table overcooked to the point that the outside was too crusty to cut with a fork. I needed a knife, and no meatball should require a knife to split. And the red gravy? Way too acidic.

The Triangle also serves a vegan meatball. I’ve heard others compliment it, but to me, vegan meatball is an oxymoron.

I know this is harsh, but I have to be honest. I’m glad the Triangle is open and thriving again. It remains a fun spot. But meatballs with the texture of golf balls won’t do well in this contest.

Score: 64/100

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