My favorite restaurant in the universe is Roberta's Pizza in Brooklyn. It has been my favorite since I began dividing my time between New York and South Florida in January 2011. I'd read about the place on Yelp, slobbered over its peerlessly intriguing menu -- the fascinations of which begin but in no way end with magnificent pies -- and hungered for the place for months, sight unseen. The day I arrived in the city, red-eyed and sleep-deprived, piloting a massive Penske truck through New York's post-blizzard highways, I took a nap, a shower, grabbed some fresh clothes from a box, and walked there. It was everything I'd hoped.
Roberta's opened four years ago near the ugly, post-industrial border of Williamsburg and Bushwick. It was a warehouse, more or less. People sat communally at picnic tables and ate the products of a massive red wood-burning pizza oven that dominated the open kitchen near the front of the dining room. When the New York Times first visited
the place, Roberta's was BYOB and hadn't yet turned on the gas: all non-pizza items were cooked on hot plates. By the time I arrived, the cooking had undergone a considerable evolution. As the front kitchen pumped out pies and calzones, a kitchen in back produced foie gras
with caramel and black pepper; lamb cooked sous vide
with transparent mint gelatin; sweetbreads with some kind of sweet and toothsome white sauce; agnolotti with black truffle and cheese; angel hair pasta with cockles; sea urchins with pairings undreamt of in Japan or anyplace at all beyond this once-desolate patch of Brooklyn.More »