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Jun 26, 2008 12:06 PM

Roebling Tea Room Review + Photos

I know that people are always recommending Roebling around these parts, so here's my take. Note that this was written for my friends who don't necessarily live in New York, so some of it may seem obvious to you.

A couple of Sundays ago, my ladyfriends and I wanted to meet for brunch–and it should be noted here that brunch in NYC can strangely fall anywhere between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.–in my neighborhood of Williamsburg, which is uncharted territory for us as far as brunches go. We planned to check out Egg, which New York Magazine named Best Overall Breakfast this year, but their sign-in sheet was packed, and they stopped serving at 2, so we deliberated for a while and then walked down to the Roebling Tea Room, which you will be incredibly interested to learn is named after the man who designed the Brooklyn Bridge. (And also the street that the restaurant sits on, but that’s better left unmentioned.)

My friend Emily had her brother’s Yorkiepoo (I know, right?) with her because she’d thought we’d be eating outside, and dogs on patios here are as numerous as taxicabs, but luckily Penny happens to be the cutest dog alive and won our waitress over with only a swish of her little hypoallergenic tail. It also helps that pretty much everyone who sees her mistakes her for a child’s plush toy at first, so Emily could just stuff Penny in her bag and let everyone believe she’s the kind of grown woman who’s unable to leave home without her playthings.

We were seated right away–despite the fact that we were a group of six and the place looked packed–in front of the nearly floor-to-ceiling windows that line the front wall and make it evident that the building was once a warehouse of some sort. They filled the room with light and ruined all of my pictures, but it was well worth it.

The walls were covered in green paper with white molding, antiquey sconces, and equestrians on white horses, the tables were thick, dark wood, and the waitresses were neighborhood women with infrequently-washed hair; funny how those things all fit together.

Bridgette ordered the baked cheddar eggs, which came in a little souffle crock next to a bigger crock of grits, surrounded by two huge slabs of raisin toast with apple butter. I’m used to scrambled eggs that I make myself from $1.99 grocery store cartons, so hers tasted dreamy to me, and her grits had a cheesy taste to them that we didn’t expect.

Emily and Beth ordered egg and cheese sandwiches that looked so boring to me on the menu but turned out to be monsters with dense, seeded bread and a folded heap of fillings. They’re a couple of dieting assholes and left the top of the bun untouched, and I was soooo jealous . . . until my pancake appeared.

The menu touted it as “A BIG BAKED PANCAKE (DUTCHSTYLE W RHUBARB & SPICED BUTTER)”, and never have capital letters been so appropriate. It filled the entire plate and more, piled high with warm fruit and a mound of flecked butter that had just begun to pool. The middle was a bit underdone for my taste, but the outside edge was delightfully crunchy, and the whole thing was filled with fruit. At the time, all of my friends and I were like, “Mmmmm, rhubarb!” But, umm, the menu was wrong, and we realized later that it was actually pears.

LaChantee and her boyfriend, Brandon, ordered a couple of salads that had exciting toppings but were still salads and therefore don’t deserve mention. But they did have homemade potato chips, and that’s the only reason I’m still friends with them.

Our food took approximately an hour to arrive, and no one seemed concerned about patting us on the head and thanking us for waiting, but that and the noise level in the place were the only drawbacks. My iced green tea latte tasted like the most delicious grass imaginable (and I mean that in a good way), and LaChantee loved The Lovers Tea, which arrived in a nicely sized pot with strawberries, vanilla, and sweet cream. The prices were very reasonable (and maybe even cheap) for the amount of food we got, and wine and tea list was extensive. After tasting what I did, I want to go back every week until I’ve tried the whole menu.

Pictures can be seen here:

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  1. Went to Roebling for dinner last night. Was an all in all good meal, not great--the highlight was a fish sandwich which was a special of the evening. the scallops were good, although the scallops at dumont are better, and the corn/zucchini fritters that came with them were very, very good, as was the dessert that my companion and i shared-peach crisp. The one thing i took issue with was the cheese plate. The portions of each cheese was ridiculously meager for the price--about the size of a sample of cheese you might have in a cheese shop before buying! There were only 2 cheeses of this size, with some fig jam, and the price tag was $10!
    however, other than that, a good neighborhood place, and the rest of the menu was much more reasonable.

    1 Reply
    1. re: healaeats

      Ooooh, corn fritters. Looks like I need to go back for something other than brunch.

    2. Geez, consider yourself lucky, 1 hour is not too bad. Roebling Road = Hipster Service Hell in my experience. I have only been three times, but all were bad as far as service and timeliness of the food and several times even the drinks were slow slow slow.

      4 Replies
      1. re: dhs

        i second that. i've been a couple of times, and the service was really bad. they're not particularly pleasant to make up for the glacial pace, either.

        1. re: wleatherette

          I too have experienced snail paced service here, so I just don't go there at all anymore. If it has changed, I would love to try them again. The few things I have had there were really good, but after sitting and waiting and waiting for things like extra milk for coffee, a fork, etc (and then eventually just getting it myself) one too many times, even the food wasn't worth the stress. Maybe I will give it another try. I love the space as well.

        2. re: dhs

          That's really too bad, 'cause it's such a lovely place. Evidently the stereotype about trust fund hipsters is true if those waitresses aren't worried about working for their tips.

          1. re: plumpdumpling

            That has not been my experience with Roebling at all. I have never had poor service there and I go a lot (both for drinks and food.)