Roberta’s

No restaurant has quite captured the sensibility of Brooklyn casualness like Roberta’s ever since its opening. Perennially known as the hipster haven, this comfort-food establishment in Bushwick has been a popular destination for pizzas and drinks. What more and more people have found out is that Roberta’s is not just a pizza joint but showcases so much more. There is now the tasting menu table inside the restaurant called Blanca that I had immensely enjoyed on my previous visit earlier this year, and star chef Carlo Mirarchi has made sure the food at Roberta’s stays at a high level. Shockingly, despite all the attention this place has received as a seminal restaurant in New York dining history, I haven’t made a visit to Roberta’s ever since my arrival in New York. My recent Sunday brunch changed that, and overall I really liked the consistent execution of dishes that came from the kitchen.

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Meat Plate (Pancetta, Sopresatta, Prosciutto)
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Snap Pea Salad (Burnt Lemon with Stracciatella and Garden Herbs)

The menu during brunch time is shorter than the normal dinner hours. Either way, I would totally start the meal with a meat plate of pancetta, sopresatta and prosciutto; all of them displayed outstanding textures and cured with nice balance of flavor. Among the salad offerings, snap pea salad with stracciatella and garden herbs was put together quite well, with fresh ingredients that worked harmoniously with one another for a salad dish you probably wouldn’t find at other mediocre brunch places. Now on to the pizzas. My dining companions and I (in a party of four) ordered three different pies, and all of them were delightful.

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Bee Sting Pizza (Tomato, Mozzarella, Sopressata, Chili, Honey)
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Beastmaster Pizza (Tomato, Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Pork Sausage, Onion, Caper, Jalapeno)

The Bee Sting pizza (which one of my dining companions ordered off the menu) had nice combination of tomato, mozzarella, sopressata, chili and honey, as did the beastmaster pie that employed jalapeno and caper on top of tomato, mozzarella, gorgonzola and pork sausage to add the spicy kick, further enhancing what was already a pretty solid pie. My order was the guanciale and egg pizza where the egg in the center added something new to the pie and the overall richness of flavor was consistently spread across without overpowering my taste bud. What I saw from these dishes was the confidence of the kitchen in being able to put together simple-looking yet satisfying comfort food with consistent execution.

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Guanciale & Egg Pizza (Tomato, Mozzarella, Guanciale, Egg)

Roberta’s doesn’t take reservations and the wait can stretch beyond one hour, so my recommendation is to always show up early and hope for the best. There is full bar with concise wine and cocktail and somewhat extensive, local-centric beer offerings. As noted above, the youthful and hipster vibe at the dining space is what really makes Roberta’s stand out above all other dining establishments in Brooklyn. Either you like it or you hate it; for a brunch, it actually wasn’t that chaotic and the scene was overall more measured. I recently heard that the billionaire Tisch family invested in Roberta’s for significant ownership stake. How that “corporate invasion” will change the restaurant, I honestly have no idea but at least on my visit, I didn’t really see any sign of meddling by big money. I hope the restaurant stays where it is and will definitely come back for dinner to fully explore what the kitchen can do beyond pizzas.

KenScale: 8.0/10

  • Creativity: 8.0/10
  • Execution: 8.5/10
  • Ingredients: 8.0/10
  • Flavor: 8.5/10
  • Texture: 8.0/10

Address: 261 Moore Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206

Telephone: (718) 417-1118

Website: http://www.robertaspizza.com/

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