Thursday, May 9, 2013

Afternoon Craving: Char No. 4

The many whiskeys of Char No. 4
Maybe it's because I'm still recovering from the Kentucky Derby {and more importantly, the oh-so-dangerous mint juleps}, but this afternoon I'm craving a little Southern comfort food.  Luckily, I had the chance to eat some delicious Southern comfort food last week when I visited Char No. 4, a restaurant that has been on my "must try" list for awhile. 

After testing all the possible seating options at Char No. 4 a la Goldilocks {the back room was "too bright," the front room "too dark", but the seats at the bar felt "just right"}, we settled ourselves at the bar, which was decorated with hundreds of bottles of whiskey.  After attempting to order a bourbon, the nice bartender suggested I try the "bourbon & a beer" option on the menu.  After some hesitation {mostly from not being able to read; I had thought he was trying to sell me a bourbon in a beer}, I agreed, and I'm glad I did.  The bourbon - Four Roses, if I can recall correctly - was good, but the Innis & Gunn beer was delicious.  I'm by no means a huge beer drinker {and when I do drink beer, it's usually an IPA}, but the Innis & Gunn was unlike any other beer I had ever drank.  It was smooth and rich, so it was no surprise that the beer was gone quickly.


The beer of "Bourbon & a Beer"
We then started with the rabbit sausage, which I likened to an upscale hot dog.  The sausage was served cold, which provided a nice contrast to our second appetizer, the hot fried pork nuggets.  For just $5, Char No. 4 serves you these little crispy balls of fried pork.  The nuggets seem to be the epitome of comfort food; they are tasty, a little bit greasy, and the warm ground pork easily melts in your mouth and instantaneously makes you feel better.  It was hard not to devour all the pork nuggets at once but alas, the SO insisted I share.

Rabbit sausage
Fried pork nuggets
For my main course, I ordered the shrimp and grits.  When I received my dish, my first thought was that it seemed a bit small {not withstanding the rabbit sausage and pork nuggets eaten moments before}.  Once I started eating, however, I realized the dish had more complexity to it than I had originally thought.  The shrimp was juicy, but it was also just spicy enough to make me slow down my usually fast eating.  The grits were creamy, and every so often you would find little flecks of sausage, which added an interesting and filling texture to the grits.  I was also given a good number of shrimp.  Perhaps because the dish was served in a bowl and thus looked small, but I finished the shrimp and grits satisfied - both in hunger and in taste.

Shrimp and Grits
We ended the meal with a dessert that appeared to be a giant Reese's peanut butter cup, accompanied by a salty pretzel crust.  I'll just say here that my weaknesses just so happen to be Reese's peanut butter cups and chocolate covered pretzels, so it was easy for me to fall in love with this dessert.  The caramel that came with was the icing on top of a wonderful dessert.

The dessert

With summer just around the corner, I'm usually hesitant to give into my Southern comfort food cravings {the calories!}.  But if given another opportunity to eat at Char No. 4 again, I will happily give in. 

The seating area at Char No. 4

Char No. 4
196 Smith Street
Mon to Thurs (6PM-12AM), Fri (12PM-3:30PM, 6PM-1AM), Sat (10AM-3:30PM, 6PM-1AM), Sun (10AM-3:30PM, 6PM-12AM)

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