The concrete jungle sizzles in summer. Light twinkles off the glass condo windows through waves of heat. You get jostled by sweaty sidewalk-denizens. The city is too much. Too full, too busy, too— too much. It’s Saturday. Almost noon. Or maybe Sunday and already past two. You’re hungry. Need food. Brunch. Breakfast. But you don’t want French toast. Enough eggs Benedict. You laugh in the face of omelettes. You want something different, somewhere else. It’s time to flip this meal upside-down. You need to head to Brooklyn — to Roberta’s. You need pizza for brunch.
Sure there are brunch staples on the menu— scrambled eggs, fried eggs, pancakes, bacon. But they’re soft scrambled with hen of the wood mushrooms, fried up with pork hash, made with ricotta, and served on a buttermilk biscuit with egg and cheese. If none of these sound appealing, there’s the special. Recently it was a duck egg and mortadella sandwich with pickled onions and mustard greens. Well-dressed greens. Bread that looked like it was butter sopped, then toasted. Runny eggs. Crunch, and little zips from the pepperoncini and Sriracha. Or something more filling: polenta with pork shoulder, thick bacon, Parmigano, a poached egg cooked the way a brunch cook knows it should be cooked whether they want to be there early-morning or not.
All this talk of polenta and bacon, it’s nice. It’s true. But you know why you’re here. Yes, the pizzas rotate on and off the menu. No, there aren’t ones unique to brunch. Yes you can have eggs on them if you want and construct your own versions of breakfast pizzas for $2 more per egg.
“Breakfast pizza? The guanciale and egg pie is one way to go.”
Sitting at one of the benches on the patio out back, sky above, enclosed by wood, brick, hipsters, the garden nearby, you could be in some post-apocalyptic pizza-obsessed version of New York imagined by John Carpenter. You half expect Snake to kick open the dining room doors and set down your Da Kine pizza with a snarl, “Lightly dressed with tomato sauce, super thin sliced pineapple, mozzarella, ricotta, prosciutto cotto, and jalapeños — but the minced jalapeños aren’t very hot.”
Breakfast pizza? The guanciale and egg pie is one way to go. Want to go renegade? The Ramblas takes things a few steps further: tomato, egg, Sicilian tuna, scallions, arugula, chili, pecorino. Even those who hate on tuna fish will dig this. It’s not fishy at all, it’s a little wet, and there’s a little kick. The egg placement is the one thing you may have to navigate. Here it was off center— good if you’re sharing with someone who doesn’t like eggs, bad if you’re sharing with someone who does. You’re gonna want to go ahead and get that topped with three more.
The iced tea is a bit weak, but a growler of beer, a Hara Kiri or a Summer Bummer, some Stumptown, it will all help you regulate, to set your buzz in whatever direction it needs to go before you leave.
261 Moore Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Phone: (718) 417-1118
Subway: L (Morgan Ave)
This post was originally published July 23rd, 2010, on the now-defunct, James-Beard Award-nominated blog AlwaysHungryNY.com.