4 Charles Prime Rib, Start Booking in Your Dreams
Pray. Pray that you are able to secure a reservation at 4 Charles Prime Rib. Cuz that's what it takes, gods, to land a spot.
The swanky, carnivore-centric, clubby without the attitude, restaurant accepts reservations 30 days in advance, each new day released at 9 AM EST (per Resy's website, where you may secure yours, just don't hold your breath). At 9:01 everything's gone. Except if you're willing to eat at 3am while you sleep, you indomitable party-goer! It takes courage, persistence, hard work, dreams, passion, dedication, and it's only the beginning, to get a table. How many times did I initiate the process of trying to secure one right at 9:00:00 and, psss, gone. Both indoor and outdoor dining options (as well as brunch on the weekends) are available. Better be a party of four too. Couples, not to mention trios, will have a harder time landing seats. Best to make new friends or make amends with old ones or redeem yourself or change religion or, anyway, it takes furor and commitment. Just right-size and add to your party if you must. Come on, you can do it.
Further, just in case you still think it'll be a breeze, the restaurant's management politely asks that reservations be booked true to size including any children. Should you arrive with fewer guests, 4 Charles may apply a $50 per-person guest change fee. My experience is the restaurant's management is truly understanding (service, as it happens, is terrific, more below), but don't tempt the devil. Thank you for your consideration, as they kindly put it.
Alright, you still want to go? Lucky you. Brendan Sodikoff's destination may be named for its street address in the West Village of Manhattan, New York City (last time I checked, it's still on Earth), but be prepared to travel far, very far indeed. Defy gravity? Why not. An intimate setting, a richly decorated and surprisingly soothing interior complete with plush leather seating and paintings lining dark wood walls (a mirror even showed my face for a split second or was it a delightful nightmare?), a professional, attentive, often charming staff willing to engage in pleasant banter if you are so inclined (but nobody will compel you), a unique sense of having arrived at a no less unique hideaway with a special vibe to match, not to mention true dedication to the comfort of each diner - welcome to 4 Charles indeed.
Brunch offers fewer options than dining, beware. Still, no matter the time you elicit to go, the results are tasty, sometimes stunningly so. Many rave about the eponymous dish, "12 hours slow roasted, salt crusted, USDA prime rib of beef with natural beef jus & horseradish cream (limited availability)," per the restaurant's menu. Three cuts are on offer - English or thin sliced & delicate, Chicago or generous, center cut, and 4 Charles, which the chef describes as "double cut, bone-in beauty." It tells you something that, after several visits, it's not even close to my first choice! The gorgeous cuts of prime rib are a mere start. Seafood is not just fresh, but often a knockout. The first time we came, the crab cake was a true delight (although many dare to recommend that diners stick to the meat or, even better, the burger).
Ah, the 10oz Double Wagyu Cheeseburger.
I try to avoid meat. Just don't like the idea of having animals killed so I can live, when an all-veggie diet is enough to sustain me - and most of us - for a century. But then, occasionally, I'll consume the damned thing, as well as fish and chicken. You know, life happens and this sort of things. At a place like 4 Charles, I am happy to indulge. You may add eggs and a slice of bacon (thick cut, maple, black pepper, not the paper-thin type you'll find at most joints) to your burger, but in this rare case, I prefer to go the purist way. Unencumbered. The meat is the star (they describe it as griddled and pressed Snake River Farms wagyu with American cheese, pickles, and dijonnaise), and it works.
The Golden French fries do their job, as well.
Other cuts of meat are terrific, as well. The Ribeye Steak & Eggs (10oz prime ribeye, two farm eggs, hash browns, béarnaise sauce) is a case in point - tender, juicy, delicious. The sides including creamed spinach (blue cheese, sweet onions), elote style corn (chili, lime, cilantro, parmesan), charred broccoli (butter, lemon), loaded baked potato (bacon, sour cream, cheddar), and butter-laden mashed potatoes (all options available at dining), are all rather rich; get psyched. The Golden French fries indeed constitute a terrific companion to all classics and mains. The truffle mac & cheese (black truffle, white cheddar) is presented as a side but is no less than a main and a half.
Next on my list: the Bone-In Filet Mignon.
I can't wait to try...
Our party bookended our latest incursion at 4 Charles with cocktails and an assortment of deserts. By far my favorite is, and I can only highly recommend, the lemon meringue pie, a killer. The lemon curd, toasted meringue, and graham cracker crust, indeed is a tuerie, as they say in French. It's huge and so much fun. A wedge of Valrhona dark chocolate pie in an Oreo-cookie crust is supposed to hit the spot, as well; there is always next time.
We tried the Bellini (giffard peach liqueur, peach, crémant de bourgogne), a delightful cocktail for starters. It'll take just about a thousand visits to evaluate the martini, old fashioned, and wine list. More to come. We'll be sure to update this review over time.
The binge and attendant bacchanal are on the pricey side, but worth every penny. Check here for detail including full menu and associated costs.
Yes, there is a good chance you too will want to come back. See you at 4 Charles then, that is, if you can rebook.
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