Twisted Olive: Eating in Bethlehem, PA
Joyce Chinese: River Edge, NJ, the same as it used to be: excellent

Eating Arthur Ave: Roberto's Restaurant


I've probably been doing it wrong, but I don't find Arthur Ave all that exciting.

While my first trip to Arthur Ave was good but not exactly life-altering, a recent trip affirmed that perhaps Arthur Ave is just not for me. That's not to say there aren't great places to buy food, including fantastic seafood at Randazzo's and salumi at Calabria Pork Store, but the restaurants just leave me wondering what the fuss is all about. Except for that Mexican place that kept catching my eye, taunting me with visions of corn tortilla tacos filled with tongue and al pastor.

The menus at the few Italian places left on and around Arthur Ave all look the same. It's hard for me to get jazzed about "Spiedino" and "Insalata Tricolore" and "Marsala" and "Francese." "Scarpiello," also, does little for me.

Now, I'm sure there are some gems on these menus. Perhaps they even have specials at these restaurants. Maybe I'm missing something fantastic. I'll still entertain that possibility, even after trying Roberto's recently.

It's hard to argue with success, and Roberto's certainly seems successful. Every seat in the house was taken by the time we left (we arrived for an early meal).

The sticky menu looked and read just like the others that we'd seen, so we checked out the specials board where more interesting dishes were lurking. A couple of dishes look decent enough, and we settled on two pasta dishes.


I couldn't decide if the rigatoni with wild boar ragu was just OK, pretty good, or really good. I'm not sure why I couldn't get my head around it. The fresh pasta appeared homemade. It wasn't necessarily over-sauced. There was nothing wrong with it. The almonds and pecorino were just wonderful combination. Perhaps the size alone was a turn-off? I think that's the case. Seeing too much food on one plate is a turn-off.

The other pasta dish suffered from the same outrageous size (I know, this is what people want: big portions). This pasta had some hard cooked egg and little meatballs in a tomato sauce. Fresh pasta, and quite tasty, although leaning toward being a bit too gloppy.


Two pastas and a bottle of wine came out to $100 before tip.

I'm not sure what it is. Maybe that type of food and those types of restaurants just aren't for me. Maybe I'm ordering wrong. Maybe I was in a shitty mood. Maybe all of the above. All I know is the next time I go to Arthur Ave, I'll be buying seafood and salumi, and eating $2.50 tacos at Estrellita Poblana III.

Roberto's : 603 Crescent Ave (Not Arthur Ave) : Bronx, NY : 718.733.9503