Ever heard of Worth Square? Maybe you have if you're a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker and/or obsessed with the city's streets and its history. Chances are, though, that you may have known it only as a sort of lily pad landing in your Frogger-like attempts to cross the confluence of Broadway and Fifth Avenue between 24th and 25th streets just west of Madison Square Park.
Until late last month it was a barren triangle of concrete notable as the home of NYC's second-oldest monument, an equestrian statue of William Jenkins Worth, a general in the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848. On September 25, however, the Madison Square Park Conservancy launched a limited-time food court in the square featuring the likes of Fatty Crab and Fatty 'Cue, Resto, Wafels & Dinges, and, up Slice's alley, Roberta's.
The celebrated Bushwick pizzeria has been pumping out mini pizzas from a wood-fired mobile pizza oven on the northwest corner of the square and will be there until Saturday, October 23.
Ladies and gents, this is some fine mobile-oven pizza. It would be fine pizza for a bricks-and-mortar joint. The crust is crisp and chewy with a nice rise on the lip. Slightly smokey and flavorful. Neapolitan-style, it's got little dollops of fresh mozzarella swimming in a sea of bright, fresh-tasting sauce. A few basil leaves decorate the surface.
We grabbed a Margherita pie ($8), but there are also some topping combos on offer that are quite sophisticated for street pizza — the Fun Guy ($12), with its taleggio, cremini, speck, and thyme; the Mamma Treat ($11), with tomato, chile, guanciale, red onion, and pecorino; and the White & Green ($8), with mozzarella, sea salt, market greens, and chile.
We stopped in around 3 p.m., and found the service to be friendly and snappy. Slowness is often a problem with cooked-to-order street pizza, but the folks there seemed to handle the orders briskly. Granted, this was well after the lunchtime rush, but the employees seemed organized and there were plenty of them, so we're hoping the wait wouldn't be too excruciating during a noontime crush.
Pizzas are small, about 8 inches in diameter, making for a light lunch for one. If you're still hungry, grab something else from one of the other stands around the square.
Roberta's at Madison Square Market (though 10/23)
B/n 24th/25th streets and Broadway/Fifth, just west of Madison Square Park
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily