Best Brooklyn Restaurants: Roberta’s Pizza
Roberta's might just be our new favorite restaurant. Not that we're claiming to have discovered the place: Roberta's restaurant in Brooklyn has been wowing the world with their amazing pizzas and delicious dishes since the beginning of 2008, and if you go to Roberta's restaurant today, in prime time, the wait for a table can be at least 90 minutes. But even though everyone who knows and loves good food in this town knows and loves Roberta's, given its location behind an almost unmarked door on a scruffy block in Bushwick (or, some would say, East Williamsburg), your first time will feel like a discovery.
We had our first time at Roberta's restaurant just recently, and, two night later, went back for second time. And given the terrific food, friendly atmosphere, and gentle prices, Roberta's in Brooklyn in the type of place at which we could easily eat once a week. At least once a week. And even Roberta's distant-sounding location is not really a hindrance: Roberta's is about two blocks from the Morgan Street station on the L, six stops into Brooklyn. Easy as (pizza) pie.
Anyway, the food. Roberta's in Brooklyn is, at its core, a pizza restaurant, serving Neapolitan-ish individual (though eminently split-able) pies, sold either as a build-your-own creation or in approximately eight pre-designed varieties, both traditional (the Margherita) and funky (the Banana Hammock). We've tried two; loved two. Roberta's White and Green pizza is a must for arugula fans, the crisp, bitter leaves piled high atop creamy mozzarella, some lemon finishing it off nicely. The R.P.S. pie is a total party, the baked-to-crisp sopressata picante, sweet roasted red peppers, tomato and mozzarella all having a blast together in your mouth. Both of Roberta's pizza pies were perfectly charred, the salty crust crunchy and chewy, the toppings perfectly balanced and impeccably fresh. Superb.
But pizza's really only the beginning at Roberta's restaurant in Bushwick. The kitchen turns out ridiculously tasty dishes, mostly leaning toward big flavors, deftly handled. The appetizer-sized braised Tripe, for example, was excellent, the offal tender but firm, the vinegary broth, tomatoes, and celery greens nice complements. And the roasted Cuttlefish was equally great, again cooked to perfection (not too milky, not too rubbery… just right), the dish given depth with chilis, basil leaves, and a thick nectarine sauce. Clearly, Roberta's understands how good a hit of acid can be.
There's lots more on the Roberta's menu, and we can't wait to go back try it. Even the dessert was special, a rich Avocado Semifreddo (it's like extra-creamy ice cream, or half-frozen mousse) with an intense strawberry puree and crispy coconut-sesame "cracker". The service was charming and professional, the space lively and fun (be sure to check out the back garden and bar area), and because we arrived on the early side each night — around 6:30 — there was no wait for seating at one of the communal tables up front. And when you're done, make sure to take a walk around the block (and/or the neighborhood), which has been turned into an outdoor public art gallery by some of New York City city's best street artists.
Roberta's Pizza in Brooklyn Details
Roberta's restaurant is located on Moore Street in Bushwick, just off of Bogart Street, about two blocks from L train's Morgan Street Station. Roberta's is open every day from 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 midnight. For more information and a look at the complete Roberta's menu, please see their website, here.