The Charles On West 4th, The Ultimate Dining Experience

by HUNTER WALKER · November 6, 2008

[The Charles' Menus]

Last night, Rachelle invited me to join her and 2 others for a meal at the newly opened restaurant called "The Charles" on West 4th street.  I don't get out much, so I totally missed out on the Waverly Inn bandwagon that Chef John DeLucie (who was a consultant at the Charles) made so hip, and figured that things would be different this time around.  I was not only going to try the Charles out, I was going to be one of its first guests.  Things were looking up for me.  So, I threw on my favorite jacket and headed down to West 4th to see what Chef John McAllister (Soho Grand) was made of.

[Interview With Chef John DeLucie]

More story below:

The former Les Deux Gamins bistro space's window are now boarded up with newspaper.  It looked like a closed restaurant, and there was no sign in sight.  This is of course, on purpose I'm sure, one of those things that the restaurants I couldn't get into before I met GofG do for reasons unbeknownst to me.  Apparently the decoy didn't work.  When we opened the doors, the place was PACKED with quite a stylish crowd.  They were running a bit behind on our reservation, expected of a place that just opened, so we hung out in the (small) bar area where my company got a good laugh at my name which is composed of two verbs: "Hunter Walker".

The intimate eight-seat bar area had a wine list that was expectantly pricey and decidedly lacking in medium priced bottles. (Or maybe I really don't get out much as stated earlier).  Apparently it is under the direction of the owner of Clo, the wine bar in the Time Warner Center.

We were seated comfortably in the corner, nestled away in a booth with a velvety banquette.  For starters we tried the Octopus, Lamb Skewers, and Tuna.  They were all excellent.  Dinner consisted of steak, cod, duck, and Branzino, the latter one being just so-so compared to the rest.  The best part of the whole meal (besides learning what "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and "Desperate Housewives of NY" were - we were sitting across from Kelly Killoren Bensimon I was told), was the Chocolate Cake with Rosemary.  We fought over the last bites of this baby and debated ordering another.

Now that I've gotten the food out of the way, I must take a bit and tell you how much I enjoyed the MUSIC at The Charles.  From Steve Wonder to The Police and everything in between, I distinctly remember my table rocking the casbah with the Clash.

John has said that his menu at The Charles is a work in progress.  I included photos of the ones from last night above, but I hope to be returning soon for Round Two to see how things have evolved.  We ended the night at some place called "Rosebar" where I was once again made fun of for never going to.  I really liked the artwork, and the dark and stormy.