By Glen Macnow

BIRRA, 1700 E. Passyunk Ave.

We arrived on a crowded Friday night, which might have been our first mistake. Service was slo-o-o-w. The second mistake may have been failing to order the trendy, creative pizza at Birra, which seemed to be a crowd pleaser throughout this bustling East Passyunk beer haven.

But of course, our mission is meatballs. So we ordered the “Meatballs Al Forno” ($14), a plate of five egg-sized beef-and-veal balls in gravy, sided with a dollop of house-made ricotta and bread.

They arrived  . . .  eventually. Like a half hour after we ordered, and 10 minutes after we gently reminded the server bringing our second round of beers that food would be helpful.

OK, maybe Birra just slow cooks its food to make it more delicious. Nothing wrong with leisurely dining, right?

Except when the plate of meatballs finally arrived, they were room temp. Tepid. Clearly, they had been sitting there for a while waiting to come out. So, it’s tough to judge meatballs that have lost their heat. The sauce seemed tangy, there were hints of parsley and basil, the meat had a big too many flecks of gristle or cartilage inside, and overall, what came to our table was pretty unsatisfying.

Yeah, we should have stuck with the pizza.

Score: 71/100

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