Teresa’s Next Door, 124 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne

My friend, Craig Laban, the Inquirer’s estimable restaurant critic (and someone who knows much more about food than I) called me out in print for not including Teresa’s Next Door in this 44-stop meatball hunt. So I took up his challenge to get there. And I’m glad I did.

Teresa’s does them differently, with Flemish “fricadelles,” bite-sized blends of veal and pork. A generous appetizer of 20 costs $9.50, which is a terrific deal. The day I was there with podcast partner Leslie Gudel, she enjoyed the meatballs in a Flemish-style carrot tomato soup ($7).

The meatballs are glazed in a sauce of Abbey Dubbel ale and butter, which happen to be two of my favorite things to ingest. They’re topped with chervil, a French parsley. Nice to look at, better to eat.  All in all, they were terrific – light and flavorful with a roasted crust. I could have tossed them in my mouth like popcorn if other diners at Teresa’s wouldn’t have looked at me sideways.

The fricadelles come with a side of crusty bread. I’ve been trying to avoid carbs during this food hunt so as not to pack on any more weight than necessary, but there was no way I had the willpower to stop from trawling the bread through that delicious sauce for every drop.

The flavor of the soup somewhat overwhelmed those little meatballs, making it not quite as much of a hit. Still, not bad. Overall, among the top dozen I’ve had during this hunt, and second only to Altomonte’s in Bucks County as the best I’ve had outside of Philadelphia city limits.

Score: 86/100