If there was ever a pizza superstore, it must be Brooklyn’s Roberta’s Pizza. After hearing so much about this place which opened back in 2008, I finally made the long and winding journey to their giant compound on the lower end of New York City’s large island borough.
The Snob thinks it’s sad that for a new place to make a splash in the world of pizza, it’s going to have to be one that makes a Neapolitan pie that can be gussied up with fancy toppings. I guess good old New York Style pizza is just too pedestrian for Millennials. But nonetheless, if somebody in America wants to recreate this classic Italian specialty that originated way back when in Naples, Roberta’s sure does it like the masters.
It was quite an adventure finding Roberta’s by car. My Waze GPS had me make more turns that I could have ever possibly remembered. Back in the days when I would have had to get directions over the phone, these would have taken both sides of the paper!
Roberta’s is situated in an isolated old industrial district that is showing signs of rebirth. It is also one of the most muraled areas I have ever seen. They call this part of Brooklyn Bushwick, but “Graffiti” might be more appropriate. I was however surprised to find plenty of free street parking in the neighborhood.
The amount of space Roberta’s consumes is remarkable. The first thing you notice is a modern-looking storefront that turns out to be only their takeaway and delivery headquarters. The dining room on the other hand looks like something out of a sci-fi movie—a tiny red graffiti-covered door on a decrepit store front that mysteriously leads you into a large pleasant dining room. In between these two buildings is another big dining room and a ginormous outdoor patio area with its own bar and pizza oven.
My visit was on America’s birthday. Coming upon a reasonably crowded lunch time, I was given a cozy seat at the short rear bar whereupon I ordered my plain old Margherita pizza ($15.00). Acknowledging the size of the midday holiday crowd, I appreciated the apology from the barkeep that my pie was taking so long. When all was said and done however, the wait really wasn’t that bad, and I was in and out in under 30 minutes.
Forgetting that the oven (brick without coal) was in the front, I was surprised when my pie was served from my rear since all this time I had my eye on what was going on behind the bar. Initially I was surprised to see my pie looking whiter than your usual Margherita. While the Mozzarella was still blotchy, it seemed to be more cheese than usual and covered about 75% of the surface. This was in no way a complaint although the cheese did get a bit stringy which is a rarity for this type of pie.
Let me just say that Roberta’s pie was delicious. Forgive me for my superlatives, but the bottom crust of this pie probably had the most char I have ever seen on a Margherita, and that’s a good thing in the Snob’s book. I gave high points to all aspects of this pie: crust, sauce and cheese. Funny that the requisite basil leaves were so tiny and covered that you barely could see them.
I ate the six small slices quickly—a perfect-sized pie for a solo outing. There was no doubt that Roberta’s pie would get my top score. It was served fresh and hot and was tasty all the way through, and was good to the last slice! It was truly masterful. Roberta’s is a special place that you need to visit!
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***** Sets the Standard
261 Moore Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206