Follow by Email

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Char No. 4 (6 of 12)

Last Friday, SOS and I enjoyed a fine meal at Char No. 4. By and large, our impression of the restaurant was of a place with consistent and enjoyable food, yet not anything we couldn’t match at home (save the two steaks on the menu). The real draw is the whiskey list and the ability to taste so many. Char No. 4 will pour you 1 ounce of any whiskey they have.

I created a rye whiskey tasting by selecting three ryes that I hadn’t tasted before. And like most things, when you line up three of the “same” items in front of you, you’ll find differences and favorites (more on this later). To go with the whiskey, they made an excellent cocktail – the Noreaster – which is a Dark & Stormy with bourbon in lieu of Gosling’s rum - Mighty tasty.

We ordered 2 snacks, 2 appetizers, and 1 sandwich and felt stuffed. The two dishes most memorable were the snacks. The crispy cheddar curds were hot, crisp, buttery, and aromatic. The spicy peanuts and pickles were perfect as well. To me, both compliment the whiskey drinks really well. Where they bourbon or rye is sweet and served chilled, these were salty and warm.

The bacon arrived on a bed of micro-greens and corn kernels that were nice. And the chicken liver mousse was not interesting, but fine.

Lastly, we had the chopped pork sandwich. Again, it was fine, but the best component came in a tiny ramekin. It was pickled chili peppers in vinegar. They combined with the pork’s richness and fattiness perfectly. It was a delicious combination, yet I can’t say it stood out relative to sandwiches at Wildwood or Blue Smoke.

SOS ordered a rose that was flavorless. It was the only disappointing part of our experience.

Char No. 4 does all the basics well. We won't make a trip back anytime soon. But, if we were on Smith Street with time to kill and a hankering for cheese curds and/or whiskey – we’d be there.

The three whiskies:

  1. Jefferson Rye (winner) - slightly tart and sweet with an enjoyable hot finish
  2. Wild Turkey Russell's Rye - mostly heat, some oak (not too much), notably spicy
  3. Wild Turkey 101 - all heat, a little molasses, but hard to detect much taste