Cha-ching! Cha-ching! Cha-ching!
By Katie Moore-Gillon
Warm focaccia and pepper-crusted sourdough in the dimly-lit brick room of Roberto’s—a good start.
The service wasn’t too slow, and the staff was hospitable. We started out with Eggplant Parmesan and Calamari e Gamberi alla Griglia (grilled shrimp and calamari over a bed of greens). The Eggplant was not aesthetically pleasing, but it didn’t need to be, as it tasted exceptional. The vegetables were fresh and had a deep, earthy flavor. The cheese was soft and chewy, which paired nicely with a buttery and tangy tomato sauce. It had a lot of flavor without being too rich (so naturally, I wanted seconds). However, the seafood was a bit of a disappointment. The calamari and shrimp were dry and the greens were under-seasoned. The shrimp had a good flavor, but it needed some sort of sauce or olive oil to give it a bit more texture. The calamari was nearly as bland as the naked leaves below it.
(Left: Eggplant Parmesan, Right: Calamari)
I ordered the Taglio Reale di Manzo alla Griglia for my entree, which was simply grilled skirt steak and vegetables. The steak wasn’t as tender as I was hoping, but it had a strong, savory flavor that paired nicely with a fresh sliced tomato.
(Grilled skirt steak)
We also tried the homemade fusilli. The homemade, overcooked, fusilli. The pasta had no real texture and the sauce was too thin. The flavors of the shishito peppers, cherry tomatoes, and the shrimp were well-seasoned, but it wasn’t worth it for the lame composition.
Speaking of, the special of the day, a chicken dish with spicy broccoli rabe, pesto, and provolone was slightly undercooked. My piece was tender; however my dining companions found a fairly raw center. The chicken did absorb the sweet and spicy sauce well, but it wasn’t worth the price.
A dish that stood out as one of the best was the side dish of broccoli rabe. It was fresh, piquant, and had a great bite to it. This is something I would have ordered on it’s own and just had a large plate of it with some bread to soak up the juices instead of ordering mediocre chicken. For next time, maybe.
For desserts we indulged in a watery Tiramisu. It had a strong coffee flavor; however, the hint of marsala was missing. Although the custard itself was delicious, the overall texture was underwhelming.
Roberto’s is perhaps somewhere I’d come back to try out their veggie dishes (meatless Monday?), but I was certainly disappointed in their entrees. The textures just weren’t quite right across the board despite having some potential with their flavor.
Roberto’s is located at:
603 Crescent Ave.
Bronx, NY 10458
Tel: (718) 733-9503