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Italian- Arthur Ave vs. Brooklyn

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Just had an -awesome- dinner at Roberto's #2 , Zero Otto Nove on Arthur Avenue.

Can someone explain to this Brooklyner why NO Brooklyn Italian restaurant is on this level? Carroll Gardens? Bay Ridge? Bensonhurst? I have yet to find -any- old school Italian joint in Brooklyn even nearing what Roberto's does.

Why? Why do I have to leave Brooklyn to eat real Italian food?

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  1. Don't know about 089, but the reason that there is nothing in Brooklyn that compares with Roberto's (#1) is because it is a great restaurant, no matter where it is located. There are some very good Brooklyn Italian restaurants such as Locanda Vino and Olli, Po, and Queen as well as some special Italian American restaurants such as Frost and Cono O'Pescatore. All of these compare with many of the Arthur Ave. restaurants, but it's true that nothing compares with Roberto's.

    3 Replies
    1. re: bobjbkln

      Actually, I disagree about Roberto's (#1). I ate there recently for the first time and was taken aback by the mediocrity of the experience.

      Each dish embodied the worst of Italian "tourist food." The pasta was heavy and rubbery. The portions were excessive. Each dish was oversalted and swimming in butter with only a few stereotypical flavors in the background.

      For example, my orecchiette was an ocean of gummy pasta with a smattering of Italian sausage tasting exactly the same as Italian sausage found at the Gristedes deli counter.

      To top it off, the small echoey room was raucous. Everyone was shouting to be heard across the table. Nearly every table in the place had a "birthday" complete with unenthusiastically singing waiters and candle on a cake delivered with yet still louder fanfare - all night long.

      The one standout was the Stracciatella soup, a home run hit of flavor harmony I could not stop slurping down. This was my dinner. All other dishes were taken away barely eaten.

      Maybe the chef came down with a fever that night and someone inexperienced was put in charge. Maybe Roberto's is just coasting on past glory. But both my dinner companion who spent some years eating in Italy and I agreed the food and experience was far more in line with a low end Little Italy tourist restaurant than the much vaunted Roberto's.

      1. re: scpizza

        Sorry for your disappointing dinner, but we just ate at Roberto's #1 as well and had an entirely different experience. We stuck with the specials: a Seafood Risotto (split) for a Primi, and for Segundos, Veal Scallopini with Mushrooms and Mortadella and a chicken with a blue cheese sauce (that green sauce was ugly, but delicious). Admit that it was a lot of food, we were stuffed with the 1-1/2 courses and that the room is crowded and noisy. But the food and service were great.

        1. re: scpizza

          I couldn't agree more with scpizza as I have eaten at Roberto's quite a few times returning only with the hope that my last disappointing experience may have just been a fluke. I've read quite a few good reviews so I kept going back to see if I was just having a stroke of bad luck but no, it's more than that. Roberto's is mediocre at best and sometimes it's really bad. It's definitely not worth the wait! Stay in Manhattan for dinner and go to Arthur Ave. on a Saturday afternoon to shop the great food stores there. Roberto's is a lot of hype or, in other words, a lot of hot air!

      2. We've been eating at Roberto's for years and were disappointed with our last visit also. I found the food very salty. Someone is going way overboard with the salt in the kitchen.

        1 Reply
        1. re: demifast

          sorry to hear about the salt issue, ive been eating there regularly for years, never had a bad dish, and of course anyone who knows this place knows you go with the specials...not the on menu dishes..enjoy

        2. Same reason I have to go to Italy all the way from Red Sauce Island... just doesn't exist here in a mid-market way.