Char No 4
196 Smith st., near Baltic
About a week ago, I vowed to Jeremy that January of 2009 was going to be a month of total health for me in body, mind, and soul. No booze, no fried food, no negative attitude! Well, Friday night at Char No. 4, I completely neglected my body, but certainly fed my mind and soul! To get an accurate picture of this pork lover’s oasis, imagine what would happen to the Waffle House if Wolfgang Puck came in and reinvented its menu. That is what I would like to see when I enter the gates of heaven. Wolfgang Puck frying up hash browns at the waffle house.
We arrived around 7:30 with our fellow foodist friend, Cornelia, and waited for over an hour to snag three seats at the bar. Next time, I’ll make reservations; I still live under the false hope that dining in Brooklyn allows you to avoid such Manhattan-like behavior. We ordered three starters: lamb cured pastrami, crispy cheddar cheese curds, and smoked and fried pork nuggets. Eating one of those panko-crusted cheese curds drenched in pimento sauce made me silently weep for all vegans. Cheesy, buttery, deep fried morsels of pleasure. The lamb pastrami was good, particularly with the fixings of coriander aioli, pickled onion and crusted bread. I have to be honest though, once you have devoured the pastrami at Katz’s, its hard for any deli meat to compete. I have to be somewhat convinced that my pastrami sandwich is going to give me a heart attack in order for me to fully enjoy it. Next, we tried the deep fried pork nuggets. We popped one in and simultaneously gasped. This time, Jeremy did cry. “I feel so bad for my father!” Jeremy yelled, and knowing full well we would be horrifying him and all of our other kosher relatives, we ordered another round. The pork nuggets are deep fried, a tad spicy, and served with a hot sauce that tasted mainly of siracha. Not only are these nuggets just salty, spicy heaven, but the texture is miraculous. They literally melt in your mouth. Like my mama always said, I like my taste buds to be assaulted. This dish gets the job done. And the best part is that it’s four dollars! You can pig out and NOT overspend (pun intended).
For dinner, we ordered the house-smoked BLT, the chopped pork sandwich, and a side of sautéed kale. The chopped pork sandwich was meaty and delicious, but the BLT was downright Oscar worthy. I never knew bacon could taste that way. It was like learning that the person closest to you has a hidden superpower. The meat is braised and fried, served on crusty bread with a healthy dose of spicy mayo and, of course, lettuce and tomato. The kale was also insane, covered with homemade apple sauce and… surprise… chunks of house-cured bacon.
In order to not completely obliterate my January health kick, I managed to make it through the evening without booze , but the bourbon-centric cocktails Jeremy and Cornelia ordered looked so good, I briefly considered making out with both of them just to get a taste.
The place is not perfect – service is so rushed and harried I almost forgot I was in Brooklyn, but the food overshadows any such flaw. So any time you need a splurge (in calories, not price –the place is very moderate) take the trip to Smith Street’s new spot. See if just one order of pork nuggets is enough for you.
Chopped pork sandwich
Lamb cured Pastrami
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