If there’s any one place that is to take the credit (or blame) for bringing the whole hipster locavore movement to Brooklyn, it’s probably Roberta’s. The vibe of the ski lodge-like dining room, the covered outdoor area facing a radio studio, the backyard porch, the hidden second restaurant in the back, and the rooftop garden all scream “Brooklyn!!” The menu is rather pretentious and over-the-top with the too cool for school twentysomethings wearing faux hawks and twirly moustaches taking photos of their food and downing an obscure Sixpoint Ale. I really want to hate this place. The problem is the food is just too damn good.
We’ve been here a few times for the pretty stellar wood-oven pizza even though it’s difficult to brace the fancy crowds. On this Sunday visit, when the restaurant was a little more mellow and littered with families and strollers, we vowed to not order a single pizza, but to try some of the other critically acclaimed offerings.
It was difficult, but we persevered and discovered a wonder of deliciousness from the left side of the menu. The celtuce (a cross between celery and lettuce) salad had wonderful watery crispness, but it was a bit too sparse and arty for much sustenance. The browned scallops, however, were seared magnificently and were enhanced by a tangy yogurt, sweet carrots, and crunchy pistachios.
Roberta’s crowning achievement here was indeed the Red Wattle Pork Chop, just like Time Out indicated. It was cut up into perfectly pink chunks and served over a bed of a bed of freekeh grains, broccoli rabe leaves, and dollops of rhubarb compote.
It was beautiful and incredibly delicious. Each tender piece of pork had a browned char on one side and smoky, meaty, fatty flesh that fell apart the moment it touched my lips. By the far, this was the best pork I’ve had in a long time. And the bitter greens played beautifully with the sweetened rhubarb and earthy freekeh. This is why people go crazy for Roberta’s!
We finished with a gorgeous green strawberry shortcake (mostly comprised of angel food cake). It was a fresh, cooling end to the meal although the shards of herb granita, while pretty, didn’t add much to the dish for me.
I can’t imagine Roberta’s being any where else then in Brooklyn (aside from some of the temporary Manhattan markets, of course). It’s truly helped define a cuisine and has made it difficult for any of the other local restaurants to live up to this success.
Would Roberta’s Red Wattle Pork Chop make my Top 100 of the year? I can say with a 10 out of 10, most definitely yes. The meaty flavors and textures are flawless and only enhanced by the decorative and delicious accompaniments.
|261 Moore Street (between White and Bogart Street),