a night in brooklyn

Womanon ropes
About a year and a half ago I got the privilege of taking a tour of Jeff Koons studio.  Koons employs roughly 120+ artists to collaborate on his work.  When I was there I mentioned to the woman who gave me a tour how cool it would be if all these artists were put in one show together.  The art of Jeff Koons studio artists.  It was just pulled off. 

We went out to a gallery in Greenpoint to see a performance of a communal dinner ritual that was curated by my friend.  Unfortunately we got there towards the end but conceptually the whole idea seemed very cool. The bread was excellent too.

The work of the random artists varied far and wide.  From an artist who was hanging from the ceiling doing a movement to music to sculpture.  I loved this particular piece.  Two politicians with their hands in each others pockets. 

Woman in triangle
There was also conceptual sculpture.

And drawings.  In a large open space. 

Afterwards we went over to Robertas for dinner.  I have been hankering to go to Robertas since the doors opened.  Robertas defines the times.  Robertas is gritty and communal filled with hipsters that have a very cutting edge look, with outrageous food, killer pizza and keep in mind…cash only.  You look around the room and not only is there a great vibe about the place, with the communal picnic tables filled the place, the owners have created something incredibly unique.  There is an entrepreneurial spirit there.  Outside there is a tent with a bar inside while people can wait.  That particular night they were serving a killer hot cider.  I felt as if I was on top of a ski mountain waiting to go into the back country.  Even a low tech radio station exists between the restaurant and making your way outside.  Honestly, I just loved the place.  I was also probably the oldest person there but who was looking.

We had a table for six and shared everything.  Our first round was salads.  Large pieces of Bibb Lettuce lightly doused with a dried cherry vinaigrette, tiny pieces of gorgonzola and roasted walnuts.  What makes this delicious is not only the simplicity but that each ingredient subtly popped in your mouth yet worked perfectly with all the other ingredients.  I love pears.  The other salad consisted of sliced pears, smoking ricotta cheese, hazelnuts and roasted beets.  I have no idea how they roasted the beets but there were the most amazing beets I have ever had.  Perhaps they came from one of the local rooftop gardens in Brooklyn which could make all the difference in the world.

Keep in mind that Robertas is primarily about pizza.  A huge wooden burning red pizza oven in front that is six feet in diameter.  Hanging out at 900 degrees that takes only 3 pizzas at a time for perfect thin crust pizza that cooks up in four minutes.  Our first pizza out was the special.  Shaved Brussel Sprouts, pancetta and I can't recall but it was fantastic.

Next pizza out was Millenium Falco.  Tomato, parm, crumbled pork sausage, onions, garlic and chili flakes.  Yum.

I thought the most interesting was the Cheese H. Christ.  Mozzarella, taleggio, honey and black pepper.  The pepper was intense and spicy yet the honey hit you in the end and the sweet almost made you think you were eating a dessert pizza.  A total wow.

We tried the cuttlefish.  Small pieces of roasted cuttle fish with a tomato sauce, breadcrumbs and just a hint of chili.  Delicious.

Orcchiette pasta mixed with an oxtail ragu.  This was good but not my favorite.

Linguine with sea urchin, cockles and chili.  This was super salty and so rich and decadent that it almost teetered on the edge of being too aggressive. 

Two desserts.  One was a chocolate pudding which I didn't like at all.  It had too much air.

The other was two scoops of gelato over pieces of apple and something else.  Think of a deconstructed apple pie.  Top notch.

As we were wrapping up we were discussing what we would order on our next meal there.  That kind of sums it up.  Brilliant.  Not only the food but the grittiness of the neighborhood and the feeling that Robertas has just been erected last night at a random location with an indoor garage makes the place even more special.  Kind of feels like the era of that 70's and the 30's combined.  Love, love, love Robertas.

Comments (Archived):

  1. alice

    Joanne – that’s where Carmen and I broadcast our radio show – We Dig Plants…@ Heritage Radio Network in that garden patio shipping container! We’re good friends with the owner if you ever wanted to meet him…you’d also love the guy that started the radio network – Patrick Martins- who brought the slow food movement to the US and now brokers heritage pork and turkeys….let us know if you want a further intro.

  2. Gotham Gal

    Small world. That radio area is so old school. I might have to take you up on your offer. I am just singing the praises of Robertas everywhere.

  3. njs

    I have been awaiting your review of Roberta’s. It truly is the most innovative place in NYC I have been to. everything there, on all levels just … works. it truly has a unique vibe.

    1. Gotham Gal

      innovative is the perfect word on so many levels.

  4. atryon

    The Koons studio show sounds really interesting. Will it be up a while? I would love to check it out. One of our Artsicle artists works with him – Fernando Rangel, some of my favorite work: http://www.artsicle.com/art

    1. Gotham Gal

      I am not sure how long it will be up. It is at Allan Nederpelt Gallery inGreenpoint.http://www.allannederpelt.c

      1. atryon

        Thanks. Sadly it looks like it was 4 days only, but turns out Fernando’s work was there! I hope you had a chance to see it.

  5. Kelley Boyd @msksboyd

    hahahaha, love this quote: Too much air!

  6. Duccio Degli innocenti

    Dear Joanne,It was very enjoyable to speak with you, I am truly happy you liked my “Mambo Italiano” plaster sculpture, I appreciated the compliment. I would love to meeting you again and I would like to show more of my sculptures. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Duccio ([email protected])

    1. Gotham Gal

      I am traveling right now but Id be delighted to connect in January. Reallyloved your sculpture