It’s true, “the new cronut” sounds hackneyed, like “the new cupcake” or “the new Brooklyn.” But hear us out: If by “the new cronut” you mean “the latest croissant hybrid that actually deserves a line around the block,” then we have your candidate. Much-lauded artisanal pizza restaurant Roberta’s recently opened a takeaway and delivery joint right beside their original space, so if you weren’t willing to brave the line for a table, which often swells to over two hours, you can grab some of their signature dishes to go. But the takeout spot contains some unique menu treasures of its own, namely their revelatory garlic knots.
Traditionally, garlic knots are an afterthought to actual pizza. They’re cheap, greasy, and garlicky. They’re a menu item, like French fries, of rapidly diminishing returns: best when hot out of the oven, virtually inedible an hour later.
But Roberta’s eschewed the standard garlic knot model for their flavorful beauties. Their garlic knots are closer to savory, tangy croissants than normal garlic knots. For one, they’re bigger, roughly double the size of a normal knot. For another, their consistency is more pastry than pizza dough. The insides are flakey and buttery, suggesting that the dough was laminated like a croissant’s rather than simply kneaded like a pizza’s. This also means that the flavor of the garlic is richer and deeper than in normal knots. Rather than having an oversaturation of garlickiness with the minced stuff on top and too little of the clove on the inside, the garlic flavor is distributed evenly. At three for $5 or one for $2, they’re closer to croissant prices than knots, too. At Roberta’s takeout, they also sell the garlic knots cold (though we’re willing to be bet that hot out of the oven they would be divine). They’re up alongside the muffins and other pastries, suggesting that garlic knots aren’t just appetizers; they’re a new breakfast food. No objections here.
In other respects, the takeout arm of Roberta’s serves up many of their menu’s greatest hits, plus a couple of quirky surprises. Unlike the restaurant proper, the takeout joint lists some of Roberta’s “secret” off-menu items for easy referral: The Bee Sting, a pie that combines spicy fresh sopressatta with a drizzle of honey and chile oil, is a must. A note for their house made peanut butter revealed that they made the sandwich staple out of coffee beans, cayenne, peanuts, and cayenne. Other menu offerings include a pastrami sandwich on marbled rye or an Italian combo layered with prosciutto, sopressata, mortadella, and stracciatella. Another innovation of the takeout annex is the breakfast menu, which offers breakfast sandwiches, bagels, and parfait, served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Cold-pressed juices, one with kale, apple, spinach and mint and one with beet, carrot, ginger, and pear, are also on offer. But us? We might be starting a new garlic knot-centric meal regime.