Char No. 4 Warms Platt; What Chefs Give As Gifts

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Adam Platt ate at Brooklyns Char No. 4 this week, a barbecue restaurant with a new smoker in the basement and more than 300 bottles of bourbon behind the bar that make for a "boozy, southern-accented feast." Platt didn't enjoy Secession as much, calling the menu a similar jumble of tired brasserie conceits and offering no stars. If youre still seeking gift ideas, Gillian Duffy surveyed chefs like Lidia Bastianich and Tom Valenti to see what homemade treats they give away during the holidays. Recession be damned, at least according to five proprietors opening new restaurants this week. Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld preview the anticipated Shang by Susur Lee; Gabriel Thompsons roomy kitchen at LArtusi; Baogette, Thao Nguyen and Michael Baos Vietnamese sandwich shop; David Burkes attempt at a sustainable seafood restaurant, Fishtail; and an expansion of Zibetto Espresso Bar into the financial district. Halloween may be long gone, but pumpkin seeds are still in season. Rob and Robin acquired this weeks pumpkin-seed brittle recipe from Deborah Snyder of Bussaco. If youre looking for comfort food but dont want to make it yourself, Rob and Robin find a soothing way to end your weekend and start your week: Sunday supper out.