The good ol' boogie down.
It's hardly a borough I go to and when I do, it's just to visit some family. On one of those days, my dad took me to one of his spots that he goes to. Showed my wife and I around a little bit of an up and coming neighborhood. We got a few drinks at some bars and ended the night here, at Charlie's.
Off the bat, I felt welcomed home and at peace. It was warm and inviting. The cocktails all sounded delicious and they were! We decided to just nibble on something and what we ordered, well, let's just say we've been day dreaming about it since the first bite. We ordered their charcuterie board made for 4. Yes there were 3 of us but it was devoured fairly easy.
That brings us a few months into the future. After all that time of thinking about that damn charcuterie board, we finally made plans to go back. The only issue I saw was there were 5 of us for a 4 person platter (cue the tear).
Bronx Board (4)
Ugh. I can taste the cornichons and grapes now. This spread is a tad different from the original we had, but it was delicious nonetheless.
This lovely chef crafted board contained some chunky grape jam, grapes, cornichons, toast, slices of Brie, Gouda, and some Manchego. The rolled meats consisted of Spanish Chorizo, Prosciutto, and Sopresatta.
It's a simple board but Charlie's puts a finesse to it that simply elevates it. Perhaps it could be the accompanied wine (which you can find a deal on Groupon for). The only difference from the first board and this spectacular spread is that we had cubed guava instead of jam.
The cheese's are great introductory cheese's that can please the avid cheese eater and the cheese connoisseur. A nice spreadable Brie with a hint of jam, Prosciutto, and some toast. Mmm. A tangy slice of Manchego cheese (made from sheep's milk) and Sopresatta. Oof. And of course, on my favorites, Gouda (so goud....a) and Chorizo. Wooooow!
I do prefer cured and dried Chorizo more than anything but I love Chorizo nonetheless.
This lovely board gets a good 8.1/10
Basic, simple, but oh so delicious
On to some entrees. Let's get it started!
(My wife's order)
Pan Seared Salmon
The menu describes this meal as a pan seared salmon with hoisin sauce, mashed potatoes, and seasonal vegetables (in this case, asparagus). It did fail to mention the crispy topping but it is some crispy onion strings, which are always a favorite of mine even alone.
The hoisin sauce reduction swooped on the plate allows you to get your sweet and salty kick with some garlic without overpowering the taste of the actual fish. The salmon itself was cooked to perfection! It flaked at the slightest weight of the fork with a juicy bite. As for the mashed potatoes, they were pretty good. I like my mashed taters heavy with garlic but these were some good ol' salted mash. They weren't gummy not were they chunky. The consistency was creamy and soothing, great with a bite of the juicy flavorful salmon. Asparagus. Meh. It's hard to find a restaurant that cooks asparagus the way I like it or at least the way I cook it; so it was nice to find Charlie's asparagus soft to the bite, almost al dente.
(My dad's order)
Jerk BBQ Ribs
This messy but dressed up dish is a little mound of jerk BBQ ribs with a side of mashed sweet potatoes. It's topped with some sauteed brussel sprouts.
Overall the dish was a bit average. I felt the ribs were more barbecue sauce than actual jerk seasoning. I was yearning for that spicy Caribbean kick, which can be overpowered with a strong sauce, like in this case. The ribs were fall off the bone tender and still good to eat! It just wasn't what I expected. Brussel sprouts tend to be the yucky item everyone tries to avoid. In this case, no! The plate was cleaned off. They almost get lost in the bite of everything but they're cooked well, seasoned simply with S&P (salt and pepper), and whatever sauce made its way onto it.
And now for the carbs of the plate: mashed sweet potatoes!
I do prefer these over regular mash (probably because of my sweet tooth) so it's nice to see it as a side. They were pretty average and would've worked even better had there been a kick from the ribs. But overall, they were sweet, creamy, and made a good side.
(My best friend's order)
Pasta of the Day
The pasta of the day was a fettuccine pasta with your choice of tomato sauce, white garlic, or pesto. It also came with some chicken cut up in there. Now, my best friend, Alex, opted for the pesto but unfortunately they were out. He went with the classic tomato. Boy would I have loved to have tasted that pesto!
There isn't much for me to say about the dish. It was a bit average for me. The pasta itself was cooked al dente which I feel can easily be overlooked considering they're not exactly an Italian restaurant. The tomato sauce was rustic and just a classic choice, nothing to really rave about.
The chicken itself was a tad overcooked which is easy to do when cooking boneless chicken breast. It didn't take away from the dish too much but didn't add any brownie points if you know what I mean.
The pasta was also topped with some parmesan cheese which is always lovely.
Much better options that they practice everyday compared to a pasta of the day. Alex however did thoroughly enjoy his meal.
Finally, my order which is a house specialty
Charlie's Fried Chicken
Oof. This specialty comes with crispy shaved carrots (basically fried carrots strips), and drizzled with honey & hot sauce! Move over Mike's Hot Honey!
I certainly saved the best for last here. Now, it doesn't come with a side so feel free to add one (which range from mash, tostones, vegetables of the day, onion rings, house salad, fries, and sweet potato fries), but fellow foodies...this dish was so incredibly delicious that I ate it in it's entirety...all alone.
Let me sweeten this already honey dripping sweet dish by adding that it's freakin' boneless! No need to worry your drunk, er, tipsy knife and fork skills. You can go at it like a carnivorous animal if you don't mind being sticky like a certain yellow animated bear and possibly burning your hands from the sheer heat of the fried chicken!
Charlie's fried chicken was the BEST fried chicken I've ever laid on my eager tongue. Perfectly seasoned. SO FREAKIN' CRISPY!! Think crispier than kettle cooked chips but so utterly juicy and moist.
And if the chicken isn't crispy enough for you (which is impossible), the fried strips of carrots are basically carrot chips which add their own natural subtle sweetness.
This chicken has everything you need and crave.
Come to Charlie's Bar & Kitchen for the cheese and charcuterie board, great cocktails, and stay for the fried chicken. The ambiance will leave you in a time warm while the food and drinks make the happiest you've been in a while.