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“Char No. 4”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American Brooklyn Moderate Great

It probably won’t come as a surprise to you all that I eat out a lot. Sometimes it’s four nights a week, sometimes more. A night at home is a rare luxury. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a great gig, but it does have its drawbacks and they mainly relate to my health and more specifically trying to avoid massive weight gain. When you’re eating restaurant food daily you’re taking in a lot more calories and fat than you would if you cooked at home. Thankfully, lots of chefs use fantastic ingredients and are vigilant about the seasons and supporting local farmers, so that sort of takes away some of the guilt, but it’s always a struggle for me to keep my weight at a relatively normal level. And as I’ve gotten older, that’s gotten more difficult. I have some tricks that I use, nothing earth shattering, but simple techniques to keep the weight (and cholesterol) from creeping on (and up). I don’t finish everything on my plate, I try not to partake excessively of the bread basket, I eat light meals during the day (though I never skip breakfast), and I get to the gym at least five days a week for a solid (hard) workout.

But all of my vigilance and discipline seems to have vanished recently and I can only blame one thing: Char No. 4. Ever since this Southern-inspired American whiskey bar and neighborhood restaurant opened a few blocks from my house I have become a very naughty girl. I can’t stop eating when I am there. I walk inside and smell the smoky meats, and all my control is lost. This week, I went back twice. Last week, three times. And now I can’t fit into my jeans. I’m in trouble and I need an intervention. HELP ME PLEASE!

The problem is two-fold. First, the food at Char No. 4, which is owned by Sean Josephs (a sommelier who’s worked at Chanterelle and most recently at Primehouse) and Michael Tsoumpos (a whiskey hound), is very good. It’s also reasonably priced (a nice perk). Second, the menu is centered around several of my favorite foods, all of which tend to be deadly to the waistline: pork (shoulder, belly, smoked, cured, you name it), cheese (fried, melted), butter (everywhere) and bourbon (300 choices at the bar, with 150 sourced from our own domestic supply served by the ounce or in a list of house cocktails). All in all, a great combination.

The first sign of a self-control problem came after my first bite of the lamb past ... [more, click below]

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“Char No.4”

I had a great time there for brunch on Sunday, good strong coffee and some smoked ham that was out of this world. Then I came into work today and it turns out a colleague of mine celebrated her 45th wedding anniversary there Friday night! She had the scallops and her husband had the hangar steak, and they said everything was excellent. Mighty props.

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