Nothing but a meatball

Nothing says outdoors like plastic lawn furniture on sunny J Street, but the VIP (person buying the lunch) wanted to dine in, and what’s a poor boy to do? Order one of the pasta specials of the day at the Italian Importing Company, for starters. Rigatoni and meatballs. $4.50 with small green salad and roll. The Company is cool because you can check out all this neat Italian stuff while you wait. Wines, oils, pastas, peppers, a dozen kinds of amaretti. The VIP went with the combination sandwich. Rock-steady selection. Crusty, chewy bread. Layer upon layer of cheese and meat—with a little Italian dressing on it … ohhh man! All for a paltry $3.50 (small size). Salad and roll were cute and sufficient. Meatballs were hearty spheres of beef, spinach and herbs served atop crusty baked rigatoni. Mama mia. Come on down, see how it used to be. Old school, deli style.