Read about the bourbon at Char #4 - who's name is a play on the grade of the burn inside a bourbon barrel that gives whiskey its character - the "char" - it sounded like Mecca -
Read about the food at Char #4 - smokey - it sounded very appetizing -
Had the opportunity for a pilgrimage to Char #4 in Brooklyn on Tuesday - it was worth the trip -
Arriving at Smith Street on a cold winter night - we drove right pass the understated storefront -
Second lap - with a cell call to the restaurant for the exact street number - we had a bullseye - the joint was busy for a Tuesday PM - just under "jump'n" -
Immediately struck by the wall of bourbons behind the bar - started to engage the bartender while waiting for a table - he proffered a small spiral notebook containing the extensive list -
My partner in crime for the night - not a bourbon fan - asked about scotch - the bartender pulled out two huge drawers - dozens and dozens of bottle from across the pond -he settled into an intense study of the list -
When our table was called - got a second copy so that we could each peruse our range of choices - so many to choose from - a tough call -
He finally settled on 2 oz - Springbank - 15 year -
My "plan" was to start with 1 oz - R1 Rye - 1 oz - a bourbon never tasted - 1 oz - James Dick el - 8 year -
We ordered our drinks - plus a few items from the menu -
- Smoked and Fried Port Nuggets - ground smoked pork reformed into one inch cubes - deep fired - spicy red sauce for dipping - absolutely inhale-able -
- House Smoked Thick Cut Bacon - four pieces - each 1/4 inch thick about 1" x 4" - golden crisp - definite finger food -
- Smoked Bacon-Clam-Potato Soup - not too thick - piping hot- cold night delight -
- Chopped Pork with pickled onions and pickled peppers - smoked - moist pork - a light BBQ sauce - on a seeded roll - too mild for me - added the onions and peppers to bring up the intensity - House Smoked Hot Beef Link - large single 12" link - consumed in silence - with smile of contentment -
- Roasted Delicate Squash - stuff with swiss chard - pecans - Parmesan - the waitress's suggestion - she earned an extra tip -
And the drinks -
Springbank - 15 yr old - 101 proof - $22 (2 oz) - this was a new one to me - the non-scotch drinker - consumed very slowly - obvious enjoyment -
Research indicated the 15year old - matured in sherry casks - recommended for after dinner - full of sweet, rich flavours like dark chocolate and raisins -
The distillers tasting notes add more details -
- Nose: Sherry, dark chocolate, christmas cake, almonds, toffee and oak.
- Palate: Creamy, raisins, dark chocolate, figs, marzipan, brazil nuts and vanilla.
- Finish: Oak and sherry notes sustain, mingling with hints of leather.
- Overall: Truly classic Springbank, best enjoyed after dinner, or with your favourite cigar.
My rye - R1 - $11 (1 oz) - new to the market - distilled by Jim Beam -drank it straight - better cut - slight hint of smoke or peat - don't quite know where that came from - a bit hot on the back - one note from the web notes -
- Bottled at 92 proof - features a light, slightly spicy flavor and a long, luxurious finish. Straight, te nose offers a gentle peppery nod to its rye heritage. Cut with water, the scents of dried fruit and cinnamon push to the front, providing a rich palate experience.
My first shot - Johnny Drum - Green Label - $2 (1 oz) - that's right $2 ! - fit the requirement of my never having tasted it - here were three - Green ($2) - Black ($3) - 101($5) - Green was the favorite of the restaurant manger - "besides...its only $2" - what the hell -
Very nice - again - drank it straight - not hot - missing (in a positive way) the rawness that had been expected - touch of sweetness (very slight) - overall a solid drink - amazing bang for the buck - you have to try the unknown -
Will post most when the brochure from Kentucky Distillers arrives - as there is nothing on line about Green -
My second shot - intended to be - James Dickel #8 - $25 (1 oz) never happened - Tuesday - workday - didn't develop into a "drinking" night - and $25 an oz is somewhat of a commitment - next time -
A word about pricing - some of the choices on the Char #4 list hit $100 per oz - $200 for a real drink - the manager explained that the numbers were generated - not by the price of the bottle - rather by the availability - in many cases - bourbons that are not to be seen again - hence making them irreplacable - case in point - James DIckel #8 - no where to found on the internet - mourned by former fans - while James Dickel #12 is all over - i.e. - interesting approach -
If this were a wine review - would close with - buy it - as its a restaurant - will close with the words of MacArthur - i.e. - We Will Return -