If you want to experience or see what hipster Brooklyn is like, go to Roberta’s in Bushwick.
There are no reservations at this famed restaurant, and wait times are known to creep into the hour plus range on the weekends. The outside is an unflattering, brownish-gray little front, and the inside is a hodge podge of decor. Low, wooden communal tables with benches, strings of Christmas lights, assorted paintings on the walls, a bathroom that looks like it belongs in a grunge concert venue, and that giant pizza oven at the front. There’s an additional seating area in the back and to the side of the main dining room from where you can see the attached radio studio for Heritage Radio Network, which, to top it all off, is in a shipping container. Oh, and don’t forget about the rooftop garden where they grow some of ingredients they use. There is so much going on at Roberta’s, but it somehow all manages to work and be “cool” at that. Even the type of customers who frequent Roberta’s is wide-ranging–there was a private party here once attended by Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Beyonce and Jay Z have also eaten here (specifically days after that infamous Solange-elevator incident).
Roberta’s is most-known for its pizzas. The first time I visited, I had the Lamb of God, a pie with tomato, ricotta, parmigiano, lamb sausage, escarole, onion, oregano and chili, and a white pizza, which I no longer see on the menu, that had potato on it (both of which are pictured here). Never having had potato on pizza before, it was as good a time as any, and the waiter kept assuring us that it was done in such a way that it wasn’t too “heavy.” Mostly, its addition was a textural thing, adding a light layer of creaminess to an otherwise simple pizza. I can dig it.
The second time I went, I tried the Beastmaster, which has tomato, mozzarella, gorgonzola, pork sausage, onion, caper, and jalapeno, and the R.P.S., which has tomato, mozzarella, sopressata, and roasted red pepper. All were tasty in their own ways, but the spicy Beastmaster with its strong, kick-in-the-mouth ingredients has been my favorite so far.
Besides their popular pizzas, there are plenty of other dishes you can get at Roberta’s. There’s pasta like orecchiette with pig tail ragu; entrees like pastrami with egg, pickled mustard seed, and cabbage; and various salumi, salads, and sides. I’ve heard great things about their roasted vegetables, and supposedly, the cheeseburger, which is only offered during lunch, is amazing.
Surprised that a place like Roberta’s makes cheeseburgers? Seems to me like they can get away with doing whatever they want. It’s consistently ranked as one of, if not the, best pizza places in New York City, and that’s as good of a reason as any to venture further into the depths of Brooklyn.
Lamb of God, pizza with potatoes
261 Moore St
Brooklyn, NY 11206