By Glen Macnow

IKEA, PLYMOUTH MEETING AND SOUTH PHILADELPHIA

Meatballs from a Swedish furniture store? Well, why not. We know people who head to this yuppie sanctuary for the food more than the oddly-named end tables, so we ventured to Plymouth Meeting for lunch.

For $4.99, we got more than a dozen small beef-and-pork meatballs slathered in a gooey, brown gravy, along with a scoop of mashed potatoes and a glowing purple paste that turned out to be Lingonberry jelly.

It’s a bargain meal, for sure. And for all the families dragging small kids through a rainy weekend afternoon, the meatballs appeared to be a savior – very popular with the seven-year-old set.

For us? Well . . .

Start with the texture, which was about as bouncy as their HJELLESTAAD spring mattress. Borderline rubbery, to be honest. The flavor was pleasant – a bit savory, a bit sweet — especially when mixed with the cloudy-colored gravy. Certainly a change of pace from the majority of Italian restaurant delights we’ve eaten over the past month.

For meatballs, they were surprisingly dry. That’s where that tart jelly comes in. Lots of dipping helps everything. And make use of those mashed potatoes too.

Ikea also serves gluten-free vegan meatballs. We’ll use them for golf practice. And, in Europe, the company was found to put horsemeat in its meatballs a few years back. We’re pretty confident that was not an issue when we were dining the other day.

Some folks (read: parents) love them so much they buy the frozen three-pound bags to take home. A bargain at $9.95.

In the end, Ikea meatballs tasted like what they are – cafeteria food. Not up to standards of this contest, for sure, but probably the tastiest thing we’ve eaten in a big-box home store. We even ended up bringing home some picture frames and an end table.

Score: 57/100

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