Are we on the cusp of pan pizza replacing Neapolitan as NYC's go-to style? The heartier, square-shaped pies are coming to Clinton Hill at some point next year by way of Emily, and this week, they're the subject of a Roberta's "Kitchen Takeover" at East Williamsburg's Humboldt & Jackson. That is—if you can get there early enough. On Friday's debut, the kitchen had sold out of the 150 pies they'd allocated for the evening by 6:30 p.m., just an hour and a half after the pop-up began at 5 p.m.
It's no surprise that anything by Roberta's draws a crowd, and these pies are most definitely worth ducking out of work a few minutes early. Pizza expert Adam Kuban described Detroit-style pizza as having "perimeter of crisp, almost-fried cheese" and that's definitely the case here. The crust also has a puffier, focaccia-like texture but with a more buttery consistency. Because of the richness of the crust and style, we thought the red sauce versions of the pies had a slight edge over their white sisters, which were richer by-and-large.
The Bee Sting ($17), which has been a popular choice at their Bushwick original, translates very well in this new style. The full-bodied sauce and blistered mozzarella hold their own with the thick crust and the soppressata and honey add additional salt and sweet for a well-rounded slice. The Speckenwolf ($16) was another good adaptation; bubbly mozzarella, salty speck and earth mushrooms punched up by thin slices of red onion that gave the slice zest. The Millennium Falco ($16), with its generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese, red onion and sausage, was a good third runner up.
Roberta's usual Neapolitan pies are downright dainty compared to the behemoths coming out of the pop-up; one pie could easily feed three people, especially if you're trying the non-pizza options, too. Their Stracciatella ($14), stretchy, creamy mozzarella topped with Maldon salt and olive oil and served with crusty bread is a clear winner for carb-and-dairy coma; even the Romaine Salad ($13) comes with an avalanche of pecorino.
The takeover runs through Sunday, November 15th beginning daily at 5 p.m..
434 Humboldt Street, (718) 349-3355; website