FILOMENA LAKEVIEW, 1738 Cooper Street, Deptford, N.J.

Two things on the menu drove us to this upscale Jersey restaurant and bar – the regular meatball appetizer, of course, and the promising “eggplant meatball,” which we figured to be a fun mix of veggie and meat.

First thing first. The regular meatball, a standard mix of beef, veal and pork, was nothing special. Three balls in a red sauce sprinkled with cheese. Not bad, by any stretch, but not distinct or memorable in any way.

And the $12 eggplant meatballs? They came on a plate nicely adorned with greens, roasted red peppers and a tuffet of ricotta. Smells delicious. Crispy on the outside. So we dig in and  . . .

filomena 27. Filomena Lakeview

(Photo credit: Glen Macnow)

Hey, wait a second. There’s no meat in this meatball. It’s merely a diced-up, spiced-up ball of eggplant. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, and it actually had a pleasant flavor.

But can you ball up an eggplant and call it a meatball? It was more like a falafel. Is anything round now considered a meatball? By that standard can we can a chocolate truffle a meatball? Tasty yes, but not eligible here.

The eggplant faux meatball would have earned a score in the 80s if any animal had given his life to produce it.  Alas, the actual “meat” meatball was just so-so.

Score: 72/100

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