It had been a few years since my last trip to LA. I was quite pleased that my recent one managed to coincide with the opening of the newest Roberta’s in the suburb to the south of Culver City, just blocks away from where I was staying. Having already journeyed to their original home space in Brooklyn, I caught wind of this new launch on Instagram. This is a bold move west and with two spots in Manhattan, now brings Roberta’s burgeoning empire to four locations.
I can’t speak for the Manhattan joints, but the new ultra-swanky Culver City room is a stark contrast to the rustic atmosphere of the old warehouse space they transformed back in Brooklyn. But, as we all know, that’s LA for ya!
So, just a few days after its grand opening, me and my two Cali friends made the trip to Roberta’s, parking their electric vehicle in the pay garage across the street from the outdoor shopping center. We found Roberta’s nestled in the middle of the retail space as we walked around their spacious outdoor seating area. We would next discover their rather unorthodox ordering regimen.
While there was obviously plenty of available seating both inside and out, we were given menus and first had to wait on a line of a dozen or so folks outside the front door. (They do not take reservations.) I guess, as a means of controlling the kitchen, after about 15 minutes or so, we were let inside to order our food at the front counter, given a number and told to order our drinks at the table where we were seated.
Being a toppings-free guy, one thing that I didn’t remember in Brooklyn was the somewhat confusing menu. My friends and others on line actually had to Google the strange names some of the pizza toppings to find out what in the world they were. I never knew that there were so many odd types of meats. Who are they trying to impress with this nonsense?
Once inside, I made my pizza order which was of course my requisite one of just cheese and sauce which here at Roberta’s is the $17 Margherita of the Neapolitan style. I also ordered a salad, and we requested a table outside on this pleasant evening.
Neapolitans don’t take long to cook in these hot ovens, and my pizza quickly arrived before I even got my salad, causing me to eat dinner like a Frenchman. The pie looked so beautiful that for a minute, I didn’t want to disturb it. Later comparing photos, I saw that it quite resembled the one I had in Brooklyn, although tonight’s version had much more char on the top end crusts which I didn’t mind one bit. One of my dining companions went the Calzone route and after examination, we determined that we had pretty much ordered the same thing except that mine was flat and theirs was simply rolled up!
Simply stated, Roberta’s in Culver City makes the same perfect Neapolitan pizza that they do in Brooklyn. It is expertly charred, thin, light and fantastically delicious. Roberta’s crust is to die for! Though I was quite skeptical that they could adapt, even my Cali friends who I have been grooming on good New York-style pie were convinced.
Roberta’s greatness has come to Cali. If you can put up with the slight pretense that comes with most things in La-La land, you too will enjoy the new chic Roberta’s in Culver City. I however prefer the funky vibe in Brooklyn.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***** Sets the Standard
8810 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232