Within a few days of returning to the States for a brief trip in October, I began to crave pizza. When I’m at home at my mom’s house near Princeton, Conte’s is the logical choice. But when I visit friends and family in NYC, the options are far more numerous. In past years, I’ve tried most of the critically acclaimed spots and this trip I gave Roberta’s in Bushwick a try.
I paid a visit with some friends and my sister Laurenparla and we liked it. But I’m not convinced all that hyperbolic praise lavished on it by critics is deserved. The pizzas are good, but nothing more. And no pizzeria that serves that blinding white cheese with an unnatural snap will ever fully win over my heart or stomach. (There must be some half-decent mozzarella in the Tri-State area!) The dough is alright but could use a bit of work; it lacked the characteristic aromas and elasticity of the classic Neapolitan pie, which it aspires to be, at least in form.
While people generally visit Roberta’s for its pizzas, I actually preferred its sandwiches. The lamb breast sandwich–all juicy meat and popping fat with yogurt and mint–is satisfying. I would gladly eat 10 of them. There is also a nice beer list and pretty ok atmosphere, if hipsters don’t ruin your appetite; the service, sadly, is awful.
So Roberta’s will do for a savory sandwich or a carb fix, but can do better on many counts. I’d start by training the servers.