The Park Slope Gastronome

Back in Park Slope.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

First Taste: Char No. 4

The day started with a return trip to Rutt's Hut in Clifton, NJ. Despite what you see in the photo, I did not have 4 rippers all to my preggo self. DMR and I had two rippers each, accompanied by a cup of chili, sauerkraut and disco fries with gravy on the side. Very Jersey, very good.

Then we spent too much time at Best Buy and Babies R Us in Secaucus. And then even more time getting back to Brooklyn. So with some time to kill before Christy's birthday drinks at the Clover Club (where I wound up having a sour cherry fizzy thing, minus the egg whites and booze. Verdict: disappointing), we decided to get some food at nearby Char. No 4.

Much to our surprise, the place was packed at 6:30. All the tables were taken, and nearly every seat at the bar was, too. Thankfully there was an empty stool at the end where I could wistfully stare at the wall of bourbon bottles. We were told the wait would be about an hour or more, but were seated after only about 30 minutes.

DMR and I shared the apple and fennel salad with bleu cheese and pickled turnips to start. The turnips were hiding at the bottom of the bowl and I had completely forgotten about them. When I crunched into one thinking it was a piece of apple, it was a nice, salty and tangy surprise.

I wasn't super hungry so while DMR opted for the chopped pork sandwich (shown above with a side of baked beans and some pickled onions and peppers, and which he loved, loved loved), I made a meal of the smoked and fried pork nuggets appetizer and roasted delicata squash side. The squash was served as two roasted rings, with a mount of swiss chard on top. Chopped pecans were sprinkled into the mix and the entire plate was blanketed with parmesan. I would have liked either a little more salt or sweetness (maybe more caramelization from the roasting process?) but otherwise, this was enjoyable and I also convinced myself it was sort of healthy.

There were 5 nuggets to my order and much to my surprise, instead of whole pork chunks underneath the breading, there was rich, fatty minced meat. I'd probably order these again, but definitely not just for myself. DMR helped me out, but I did feel a little porked out.

To end the meal we shared the homemade butter pecan ice cream, which was super delicious. The description kind of undersells it as the super smooth ice cream is studded with nobs of praline. It's served with bourbon, but we asked for it on the side. DMR was able to pour it all over his ice cream for an even more decadent treat. In an act of jealousy, I poured a tiny drop onto a spoonful of ice cream for a wonderful bourbony bite all to myself.

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