* Click here for rating key
Roberta’s by Joe Muldoon Restaurant Review: Roberta’s, small and unpretentious, is tucked into a strip mall just off a busy highway. Chef Joe Muldoon, formerly the executive chef at The Reserve in Bally’s, is technically well grounded and wildly creative, employing meticulous preparation. He’s supported by his carefully assembled staff --- most, like their leader, former casino restaurant workers from nearby Atlantic City. At Roberta’s, named for Muldoon’s mother, steaks are hand-cut, produce is locally sourced and startlingly fresh, dressings and marinades mixed on premises. Try the tuna “pastrami” crudo, cured in-house, served with a clear, refreshing tang of Meyer lemon vinaigrette and adorned with dabs of arugula tapenade and cherry tomatoes peeled then poached in olive oil. Consider, too, the sweet-and-sour calamari, dusted with delicate mochiko (rice flour) then flash fried to a golden hue and complemented by sweet-and-sour sauce and wasabi aïoli. Other must-tries include spiced vanilla-glazed duck breast with duck confit and butternut squash risotto paired with arugula wilted in brown butter; and Pommery mustard grilled boneless short ribs with lush potatoes au gratin and oven-roasted zucchini. Desserts are simple, gratifying and difficult to choose amongst. Witness the mascarpone millefeuille, cinnamon raisin bread pudding or bananas Foster-stuffed crêpes. Service is attentive and notably warm and chatty.