Char No. 4


196 Smith Street


Monday to Thursday 5 p.m. to midnight (kitchen open 6 to 11 p.m.), Friday noon to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. (kitchen closes at midnight), Saturday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. (kitchen closes at midnight), and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. (kitchen closes at 10 p.m.).


Photo by Dominic Perri

It may be tempting to think of Char No. 4 as “that whiskey/barbecue place,” but the wonders of this Carroll Gardens outfit advance far beyond either concept. Yes, the restaurant features more than 200 whiskeys and some of the borough's best smoked meats. But here bourbon — which general manager Dave Escovitz calls “the national spirit” — is as much a part of the menu as the entrées themselves: Each dish was conceived with the idea that American whiskey would go well with it. And smoker aside (the spareribs here might be the best in Brooklyn), chef Kyle Knall's menu gives diners the full Southern treatment, including biscuits benedict with bacon gravy for brunch, bacon and brussels sprouts as a dinner side, mac and cheese, and (on Wednesdays and seasonally) a delightfully authentic, if elevated, crisp oyster po'boy. Opened in 2008 when Smith Street was still but an outpost for even casual dining, Char No. 4 now finds itself nestled in one of the hottest food enclaves in Brooklyn. But it welcomes the company. “The whole region is expanding in terms of availability of good restaurants,” Escovitz says. “But we stand out. We're a special restaurant among a now heavily populated part of Brooklyn.”