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Day 98: SoWe Taste… Char Restaurant

Day 98: SoWe Taste… Char Restaurant

Spinach Asian pear salad with candied walnuts, goat cheese, vanilla bean white balsamic vinaigrette

Spinach Asian pear salad with candied walnuts, goat cheese, vanilla bean white balsamic vinaigrette

Sporting Rangers blue, Executive Chef David Snyder served up a delicious spread of Char‘s New American specialties today.  He takes great pride in constructing a seasonal menu while simultaneously preserving staples like his popular hangar steak.  Snyder, a true creative visionary in the kitchen, estimates that the menu changes about sixty percent with each season.  Stay tuned for the release of his summer offerings on June 23rd!

Nearly one year old, Char boasts a striking interior comprised almost entirely of reclaimed wood.  Much of the wood is over 100 years old and comes from all corners of the U.S, creating a modern-rustic decor with tons of character.  Every aspect of the Greenwich restaurant’s physical appearance has a story behind it, and the team is very proud of the vibe they’ve created.

The Char: bourbon, muddled blackberries, lemon juice, simple syrup

The Char: bourbon, muddled blackberries, lemon juice, simple syrup

Pan roasted cod: toasted barley, roasted red peppers, olives, spinach, warm toasted garlic vinaigrette

Pan roasted cod: toasted barley, roasted red peppers, olives, spinach, warm toasted garlic vinaigrette

I posted up at the bar first for a drink from Agron Rugova’s specialty cocktail menu.  I’m really not a bourbon fan, but I genuinely loved “The CHAR” that he prepared.  I could only ever so slightly taste the bourbon itself since it was mixed with the perfect proportion of blackberries, lemon juice, and simple syrup.

With its antique-chic feel, Char is a great spot to meet for drinks, but I would definitely suggest—and pretty much mandate—that visitors order food as well.  I had never experienced a vanilla bean salad dressing before, and I hope this wasn’t the last time I will.  The spinach Asian pear salad with candied walnuts and goat cheese could masquerade as a dessert, it was so scrumptious.  As Snyder described, the combination of ingredients worked well both in unison and in contrast of one another.

Bucatini lamb bolognese topped with soft goat cheese

Bucatini lamb bolognese topped with soft goat cheese

Chili garlic crispy shrimp with green onion, radish, cilantro

Chili garlic crispy shrimp with green onion, radish, cilantro

Lightly fried chili garlic crispy shrimp were truly as addicting as General Manager Jimmy Rugova had warned us ahead of time.  Another one of Char’s super popular signature dishes, grilled octopus, barely tasted like octopus, in a good way!  It was delicious and plated very nicely.

Also beautifully constructed, the desserts at Char are truly something special.  I had never before seen French toast bread pudding and could not get over the fake butter patches made of vanilla custard sitting on top.  Let’s just say Snyder said he would get in fairly serious trouble with patrons if he ever took this rich, buttery item off the menu.

Signature grilled octopus with red watercress, crispy potatoes, garlic confit, lemon oregano dressing

Behind the bar at CHAR

Behind the bar at CHAR

It didn’t matter that I was extremely full when the espresso semifreddo came out—it was hardly a struggle for me to demolish it.  There was such a complex flavor experience contained within this dessert.  Snyder instructed that I dig my fork down to the bottom of the bowl and drag it up the side to ensure I was hitting every element from the lemon zest to the hardened caramel around the edges.  The coffee flavor was not too potent, and I loved this cold dish after the warm bread pudding.

An onlooker, recognizing I’m a blogger, offered an unprovoked opinion about Char: “I’ve never had a bad meal.  I come alone, with my husband, family, friends, ever since it opened, and the changing seasonal menus keep giving me an excuse to come back.”

Head Chef David Snyder

Head Chef David Snyder

French toast bread pudding: maple caramel syrup, spiced apple ice cream

French toast bread pudding: maple caramel syrup, spiced apple ice cream

It was easy to see just how passionate Snyder and the Rugova brothers are about crafting the perfect dining experience, from food and drink to the atmosphere and service.  Their energy and attention to detail has undoubtedly done wonders for Char thus far.  I really look forward to seeing what exciting new bites Snyder has in store for us this summer!

Espresso Semifreddo with crumbled chocolate covered espresso beans,  candied lemon zest, vanilla whipped cream

Espresso Semifreddo with crumbled chocolate covered espresso beans, candied lemon zest, vanilla whipped cream

Brothers Jimmy and Agron Rucova

Brothers Jimmy and Agron Rugova

CHAR's exterior

CHAR’s exterior

www.charct.com

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