by Devon Walsh
Roman's, 243 DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11205
(718) 622-5300 | Reservations: no, walk in.
At this point, the notorious Andrew Tarlow restaurant group is the closest Brooklyn comes to a conglomerate. If you aren’t already in the loop The Marlow & Sons restaurant group is comprised of four restaurants, one hotel, a couple of bars (one on a rooftop with the most striking view of Manhattan this side of the East River) a leather goods brand, a bread company, a popular food quarterly and a locally grown toothpick business…not really on that last one, but you get the point. Yet their casual Fort Greene eatery is an often-overlooked component part.
For all the chic and the fuss of the Ides—you’ll regularly find a line that snakes around the block if you attempt a weekend visit—and the still (after 16 years) epic wait time at Diner, Roman’s feels authentically neighborhoodie, and refreshingly so. Even though the Italian eatery wasn’t Tarlow’s first restaurant, you can sense the provenance of where Tarlow’s empire all began, that casual Brooklyn je ne sais quoi that lured all the buzz in the first place.
Maybe unintentionally, Roman’s abandons cool, for the uncomplicated and reliably delicious. The menu is limited—with a mere 12-15 dishes—but constantly changing, which lends the dishes a fleeting quality, rendering them all the more enjoyable and worth savoring. If you’re lucky, you might catch an escarole and white bean paccheri or a ramp sformato (Italy’s version of a soufflé).
Come here with your best friend and wile away summer’s evening hours seated at the slightly cramped front patio that leans with the sidewalk, because it is the sidewalk. People watch, gossip and sip on rosé, or the daily special sour cocktail.
Or celebrate a romantic evening in the low-lit dining room indoors.