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PEPPERONCINI, 72 Poplar St., Conshohocken

Who knew that the very first place we’d visit in the Meatball Madness search would be a contender for the title? Indeed, the meatballs made by Paul DiBona at this cozy corner bar in Conshy blew us away with their greatness.

For $12, you get three baseball-sized meatballs made of the perfect blend of beef, veal and pork. You can also get them with pasta or on a sandwich, but I think they’re strong enough to stand on their own.

DiBona starts each with four ounces of meat, and bakes and simmers them down to three-ounce things of beauty in a pot full of marinara. You can taste the pecorino Romano cheese, the parsley and the garlic. Maybe just a shade too much garlic, but that’s a minor quibble.

Pepperoncini’s has been in Conshy since 2005. They’ve got a strong beer list and also make a fine thin-crust pizza. But go there for the meatballs.

Score: 89/100

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