In the ever raging battle of Burgers Vs Pizza beef is way ahead. Pizza’s have been woefully under represented in this blog up until now so I have to make a mad dash to even things up in the next two weeks.
I do not think Di Fara, the legend of New York pizza is going to make it on this trip, the logistics are just all wrong and I cannot reconcile the costs/benefit analysis in the biting cold….. For some reason I have not made it to Franny’s yet, Donatella’s and Paulie Gee’s are not exciting me right now so this leaves only Roberta’s, a place I have heard lots about but not ventured to before now.
Yes, the picture above really is the front entrance to the restaurant. I think we have all seen public toilets that are better maintained, however exiting the subway station told me all I needed to know about the area. (I have found in NY the state of the subway station tells you a lot about the area you are in. Much like The London Underground different stations are at different levels of decay, however in NY they generally start at a lower point so the bad ones really are quite shitty) Roberta’s is on the border between NE Williamsburg and Bushwick, it’s another classic tale of a good neighbourhood gone bad as soon as the major employer (Breweries) leave town.
Back to Roberta’s, in fairness to the place it never makes out to be anything other than it is; a ramshackle place devoted to good food, good beer and good times. You can tell there was no business plan, no grand scheme, just a lot of love and a great deal of hard work to achieve what they have.
While it is certainly better on the inside than the outside there are no interior designer touches here, just things placed where they are needed and random extras thrown in to add flavour to the place.
To the food: There are two distinct kitchens here, one is right up front dominated by the bright red pizza oven and the other tucked away at the back dealing with all the other food. It seems to work quite well although it must add to the staff cost, I counted at least 7 kitchen staff on a quiet lunch.
The pizza was very good, not in Motorino’s league, but still a very good pizza. The dough was quite dry and the mozzarella just a little too white for my liking, (someone in NY decided mozzarella should be as white as a Hollywood wannabe’s smile so there is a tendency to add chemical whitening agents to the cheese), although I do not think that this is the case here. On the plus side a very good sauce and excellent Sopressata Piccante. I enviously watched as the table next to mine tucked into the Fried chicken special, but as I was eating alone today I had to settle for just pizza. Looking at the menu this place offers a whole lot more and I would love to go back with a larger party to sample the rest of the food.
It rates as a really good pizza option, but with much more besides. They are soon to start baking their own bread out of an oven built into a shipping container and last weekend hosted their own Beerfest. Having walked around the neighbourhood a little it seems there is not too much in the way of competition yet, but I am sure this will not last too long, after all one good joint always brings another.
After I ate I walked and got a little trigger happy with the camera….so much graffiti to enjoy…..