De Robertis – Pasticceria & Cafe

Dramatic shot, right?

That’s Kris Thor.

He’s a friend of mine.  We met years ago – he’s a very talented young theater director.

He went to Columbia and studied under Anne Bogart.  We did a couple of shows together.  He’s a nice guy – very passionate about his work.  He has a good eye for theater.

 

I dropped in on his recent set of plays at P.S.122 last Saturday.

He’s been rehearsing and performing three different shows, in repertory with playwright Ashlin Halfnight.

I know.  Sounds like a D&D character, right?

Ashlin Halfnight – Sorcerer, +2 charisma when wearing Cloak of Charm.

He is charming, too!

I was two hours early for Ashin’s funny, sardonic, theatrical deconstruction of Hamlet.  The show, Latham Prince, was set to start at 9pm, not 7pm, when I arrived.  They were performing another of Ashlin’s plays at 7.  And it was sold out, ladies.

I had to come back at nine.

 

This gave me time to check out De Robertis Pasticceria & Cafe.

It was just a few blocks from the theater.  I usually love joints like this – these old school bakeries don’t play at that hyper sanitized, fresh, self-conscious game that most nouveau Manhattan bakeries play.  They’re old school.  They make dense pastries that have so much fat and cream inside them that you don’t have to throw them out after two days.

These places usually have lots and lots of pastries.  This place sure did.  It’s a different expectation, coming into an old school Italian bakery.   They bake a bunch of things, and keep the display cases stuffed to the brim of pastries that they couldn’t possibly sell.  It’s my feeling the family owns the building, and has owned it for many, many years.  The bakery itself has existed there for 107 years.

 

The waiter smirked when I asked after the freshness of the blueberries in the Blueberry Tart.  ‘Oh, no.’ He said, ‘they’re from a can.’

No thanks, I said.  I’ll have the Strawberry Tart.

He came back a few minutes later with my tea.  He explained that they were out of strawberry tarts so he gave me three mini tarts instead.  I was happy with this compromise.

The tarts were good.  The custard was rich and creamy and i didn’t mind that it seemed a little…  old.  It wasn’t rancid, or stale – it just had a tiny skin on it. The flavor was spot on.

It was the clientele that really made this restaurant.  Old school New Yorker types in sweatpants.

 

Chris and Ashlin put on a great show.  They cast adept, charming actors who had a good amount of chemistry with one another.

The script moved at a good pace,  and walked a nice tightrope between absurdly funny and darkly disturbing.  Kris’s signature design move – one large, sumptuous  set piece amid an otherwise bare, rough- hewn environment – paid big dividends.

The space was smartly used, in a seamless way that aided the storytelling.

I got to sit next to the handsome and charismatic Mikey Barringer, too.  That was a real bonus.  That guys oozes charm, ladies.

 

All in all, I was pretty happy with my evening.

So, you know.  I don’t have much to say.  Except…

Enjoy the downtown theater, Jerks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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