I happen to live in the midst of all of the cutest parts of Brooklyn, so a night out to one of my favourite neighborhood restaurants usually involves passing four more that I want to try the next night. Char No. 4 is one of the places I’ve always noticed with its dark tones, ceiling full of lanterns, and bar bustling every night of the week. I remember looking at the Southern-inspired menu once and thinking it was too small, but when my friend Kim, her cousin, and I decided to go on a recent weekend, I realized that the menu’s actually too big, because I wanted every single thing on it.
old fashioned (Very Old Barton Bourbon, bitters, sugar, orange, & cherry)
Noreaster (ginger beer, lime, maple syrup)
Like chicken nuggets, only more flavorful. With spicy mayo.
fried green tomatoes, shrimp remoulade
I didn’t try this because I’m still anti-tomato after all this time, but my dinner companions were surprised and pleased by the shrimp flavor.
deviled eggs, smoked whitefish
As a land-animal-favoring person, I tend toward the bacon side of deviled eggs, but the whitefish was a great addition to these. It was like tuna salad and egg salad in one.
lamb pastrami, coriander aioli, pickled onions, & grilled rye
Having recently had a really excellent lamb pastrami, the kind that’ll stick in my memory for quite a while, I was interested to see if Char No. 4’s version could compare. Resto‘s was just a big wallop of pastrami flavor, while this one was more subtle as part of a more composed dish meant to highlight several flavors. I like to be hit in the stomach by my food, so the Resto version will stay at the top of my list, but the aioli and onions from this version made it a real contender.
brisket, fingerling potatoes, kale salad
shrimp & grits, bacon braised collard greens, & cilantro
Char No. 4 Cheeseburger, Cabot clothbound cheddar, charred red onion, Dijon mayo, & fries
I was in the mood for a burger that night, and this one hit every spot for me. It wasn’t breaking any of the rules and it wasn’t trying anything fancy, but it was cooked right and made the bun soggy with its juices. I’d go back for it.
Char No. 4 is just the sort of neighborhood restaurant you become a regular at when you’re childless and dual-incomed in the swanky parts of Brooklyn. Our server was hip but very friendly, and you can’t beat the deep, comfortable booths with their low lighting and dark woods for a date night. The whiskey and whisky menus are extensive, the cocktails are expensive but composed and strong, and the food is solid enough that you want to eat it again but pricey enough ($25 for brisket is more than I’ve ever paid in Manhattan) that you’d have to sacrifice a week’s worth of diapers for it.
Char No. 4
196 Smith Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201 (map)