HARP & CROWN, 1525 Sansom Street, Center City

We’ve enjoyed Italian meatballs, of course, over the past month – both Northern and Southern Italian in style. And we’ve sampled Greek, Asian, Mexican and Swedish meatballs. Even vegan. The time had come for Irish, so we ventured to Harp & Crown, a fun, beautifully designed Rittenhouse spot that actually has a bowling alley hidden downstairs.

We were there to bowl. We were there for the lamb meatballs. Oh, and a craft beer from the solid menu at the bar.

Neither disappointed. For $15 we got four huge meatballs, sizzling as they arrived in a cast iron pan accompanied by garlic bread. Juicy, bouncy, tender and with that wonderful gamy deliciousness of lamb. They were topped with parsley and a surprising mint jelly. My dining partner that day, a professional chef himself, said the mind jelly was among the best sauces he’d ever tasted on a meatball.

This is different, original stuff presented by Harp & Crown owners Michael Schulson and Nina Tinari-Schulson, who also run Independence Beer Garden, Sampan, and Double Knot. Busy people.

Harp & Crown’s lamb meatballs are among the most terrific I’ve tasted during this year’s extensive food hunt. And among the most original. Alas, they are too busy right now and declined an invitation to enter the Meatball Madness finals. But go check them out.

Score: 90/100

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