I don’t know if it’s the all about the adventure, the amazingly rustic atmosphere, the incredibly friendly (and good-looking) staff or just the down right cravable food, but we have been finding ourselves waking up on Saturday mornings with Roberta’s on the brain. You see, their brunch simply wins every single time.
I have no idea what made us order sticky buns at Roberta’s. I don’t particularly like them. They’re usually cheaply and overly sugared on the outside and dry on the inside. Not at Roberta’s! The sticky bun here is one of the best things you will ever put in your mouth.I’m not sure, but I think they’re cooked in Roberta’s wood fired oven like all of their other bread, but this bun has the most amazing swirl of cinnamon coated into the perfectly soft and chewy brioche roll coated with a tear-inducing caramel and maple goo sprinkled with a few key granules of sea salt. Whether you go for brunch, lunch or dinner, get one or four. They’ll rock your world.
Roberta’s is the coolest restaurant in New York City. So cool, it needs it own ON THE REAL category to prove this bold, but accurate proclamation. On Moore Street just off the corner of Bogart in East Williamsburg sits her incredibly unassuming entrance to a former garage. The interior is adorned with a mishmash of found wood panelling, benches, tables and wall hanging chattel rounded out with a healthy dose of non-pretentious tattooed personality. The pizza they create in that big old oven in the front kitchen and the plates they churn out of the back is simply perfect.
I had the shrimp roll on a recent visit. Simple is the word of the day here, but simple can be perfect and my meal was. The shrimp was exquisitely cooked and lightly tossed in mayo with a little bit of chopped tarragon. The bite coupled with the perfectly cooked-that-morning-out-back-in-a-wood-fired-oven and buttered roll kinda made me want to cry. The addition of the freshly picked, roasted and salted fingerling potatoes on the side make the meal flawless. I washed it all down with a Dean’s Dream which is an up concoction of blanca tequila, lime, mole bitters and cracked black pepper. Amazing.
Lulu was desperately trying to get a peek at the Tiki Disco happening behind the plywood walls in Robert’s garden; a former junk yard. And that is part of what sets Roberta’s so far apart from the rest. The owners have willingly jumped into so many fires over the last couple of years. They run the Heritage Radio Network. They grow as much of the food they serve on premises and get whatever else they can from Brooklyn Grange..the massive rooftop farm in Long Island City. They throw everything from raging feasts with bonfires, to a garden dinner series, to neighborhood block parties, to beach parties at their place Ripper’s at Rockaway Beach. And, if you want to go seriously upscale, they have the $180 a head tasting menu at Blanca right next door. ON THE REAL is going to go in-depth on all things Robert’s over the coming months. Hope the shrimp roll and a shot of a longing three-year-old is enough to start.
It’s Labor Day weekend and traffic is sure to be a bitch started at around noon on Friday. We’re avoiding it all and taking the A train to Rockaway Beach. This wide swath of sand is only a 45 minute ride from the West 4th Station in the Village, so if you’re not already firmly planted on the beach in Montauk or some glassy body of H²O in the Berkshires, it’s about the best and cheapest bet for cooling off on what is sure to be a scorcher of a weekend.
It may be a little more crowded than your usual getaway in Southampton, but so what…it’s a clean beach…on the ocean…within the five boroughs. And for food, there are bunches of options. Check out Caracas (of East 7th Street and Grand Street in Brooklyn fame), Motorboat and the Big Banana and Ripper’s an offshoot of Roberta’s in Williamsburg. Here’s a link to Rockaway Beach Club for the full list. Have an amazing weekend!!!