Sometimes you just need to break away, get out of your neighborhood … your island and make a run for a whole other borough. Whatever the calling–art, music, shopping, friends or food–you just have to go. Yes, mine is food. What’s my tell?!

For some reason or another, my compass needle has been landing on Bushwick, Brooklyn. After a Shorty Tang & Sons noodle excursion somewhere else in the borough, I ended up in Bushwick; I have friends and new acquaintances who live in Bushwick and for the longest I have been hearing about a hidden-in-plain-sight Italian pizza spot that treats you right. Plus I just like saying “Bushwick.” Sounds official when it festoons out of the mouth.

So one Friday night, I hoped on the A to the L train to the Morgan Avenue stop en route to Roberta’s (261 Moore St., 718-417-1118, It wasn’t as long a ride as I thought, but walking out of the station for the first time, this Harlemite got a little shook. All I saw were galvanized steel walls and stop signs. Thank goodness my Bushwick pal picked me up for the quick ride over to Roberta’s.

From the outside, the graffiti facade on a desolate street makes it look like a nightclub in the Meatpacking District circa 1988, but as soon as you walk inside, you get it. There is a wood-burning stove, communal tables, tons of people in plaid, low lights and some Brooklyn hip-hop for ambiance. Name on the list, walk around the growing property (outdoor tented bar, wood pile for the stove and garden) then fortuitously landing seats at the end of the bar, where we would spend the rest of our time (good thing too because our name didn’t get called until we were elbow deep into our food).

The bartenders were awesome–knowledgeable, patient, fun and engaging! We started with drinks (stellar beers and wines, including two American wines under the title “America, F-expetive Yeah”) and quickly moved on to order the meat plate, Brussels sprout salad, margherita pizza and the squid.

The savory all-American-made meat plate of prosciutto, sopressata and finocchiona (fennel seed salami) was served with a piping hot half loaf of their house-made artisanal bread. Just go for that and some wine, really. This was only outdone by the salad. A pool of buttermilk topped with thin shaved raw Brussels sprouts, toasted sunflower seeds, fried Brussels sprouts leaves and crispy guanciale (cured pork jowl) finished with a seven-minute egg on top. It was a “try this at home” moment for me.

My friend ordered the pizza and its toppings. By conventional terms, it would be called Hawaiian style, but at Roberta’s, thin carpaccio slices of fresh pineapple and crispy pieces of sausage are transformative. I only wish the fire and texture, created by that oven, would have made it to the squid dish. The meyer lemon aioli and grilled scallions upstaged its star.

Dammit, Brooklyn! I think I am falling in love! Roberta, who the hell do you think you are?! We need to talk on my next visit for one of those inventive pizzas, grilled pork collar, watercress gelato (cra-cra!) and of course that Brussels sprout salad.

It’s Bushwick, son! (That felt good.)


Email, tweet @SCHOPgirl or message me on Facebook/SCHOPnyc, #HarvistInHarlem, with your best food experience in Harlem. Three readers will join me for dinner at Harlem’s newest food destination, Harvist at MIST. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Enjoy, get eating and thanks for reading!

Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email her at, follow her on Twitter @SCHOPgirl or Facebook or chat with her on Instant Messenger at AskSCHOP, Monday-Friday, 6-8 p.m. For even more recipes, tips and food musings, subscribe to her blog at