Located in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn, Char No. 4 is first and foremost a whiskey bar. Don't believe me? Just try selecting from their 300-plus selection that's sold by the ounce. Even their name is derived from the they way barrels are charred to age whiskey, giving it that characteristic smokey flavor.
So why am I writing about a whiskey bar as a brunch destination? I'm glad you asked. While the front of the restaurant may celebrate this fine spirit, the kitchen in the rear turns out some serious smoked meat. Chef Matt Greco knows his way around a kitchen after having spent time at the likes of Michelin-stared Café Gray and A Voce. Here, Greco focuses on a small but well executed menu that prominently features pork.
Having read Ed Levine's review of Char No. 4 on Serious Eats featuring their famous House-Smoked BLT, I knew it was only a matter of time before I would venture to Smith Street to satisfy my craving. MW and I arrived around noon to a packed restaurant. People crowded around the wooden bar in the front enjoying Mimosas and bourbon spiked Bloody Marys. Our wait was short and we were led to our table in the narrower dining room.
MW ordered the Char No. 4 Biscuits Benedict. Two Poached Eggs sat next to House Smoked Ham, laid atop a Buttermilk Biscuit and covered with a Bacon-studded Gravy. The smokiness of the ham accented the other flavors of the dish, yet wasn't overwhelming. The biscuits were fluffy and great for picking up all of the runny egg yolk and rich bacon gravy.
A surprise to no one, I ordered the House Smoked BLT. Served with Pickled Tomato, Romaine and a Chili Mustard Aioli this sandwich packed quite a punch. While dainty is size, its flavor was anything but small. Deep fried, house smoked pork belly replaced the traditional bacon component and the additional pickled red onions and chili gave the sandwich the much-needed acidity to balance out the luscious pork fat.
Needing a starch component, we added a side of the Crispy Potatoes with Green Onion and Garlic. These potatoes certainly lived up to their name as they were quite crisp. The addition of the green onion and garlic gave the potatoes a nice flavor and proved to be a great side, even if meant that we had to avoid speaking to strangers for the rest of the day.
Although I didn't sample any of their impressive whiskey selection, I enjoyed my brunch at Char No. 4. Whether you are in search of a strong cocktail to nurse your hangover or are need to avoid the stuff altogether and are just looking for some quality grub, the smoked meat selections at Char. No. 4 are sure to satisfy.
Char No. 4
196 Smith Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
To see all our pics please click the flickr link.