In late 2018, Mike Jalili, co-owner of the local restaurant empire including Flame and Black Sheep Burgers & Shakes, announced that Touch Restaurant & Oyster Bar would close temporarily while it transformed into Char Steakhouse & Oyster Bar. In just 10 short days, the menu was built anew, interiors were redesigned and a new contender entered the Springfield fine-dining market on January 10.
Although Touch was always a great date spot, Char manages to up the elegance. The interiors went from an “I think I’m into you” date to a “Let’s lock this down” level. Soft iridescent wallpaper, flickering candelight, intimate seating and white coat–clad waitstaff set the mood for a special occasion.
The menu more than lives up to the enhanced atmosphere, too. Signature seafood offerings from Touch, including oysters on the half-shell, Alaskan king crab and lobster still fill Char’s menu, along with plentiful steak options. Most of the steaks are dry or wet aged in-house and are visible from the red-lit meat locker near the front door. If you’re feeling indulgent, Char also offers Wagyu steaks. They’ll cost you, but the flavor and tenderness of this highly marbled beef are unmatched.
When a friend and I paid Char a visit, our co-worker could not stop raving about the juiciness of her Char Bistro Cut. Not wanting to miss out entirely, we skipped the steak and ordered the Wagyu meatballs starter instead. Despite getting top billing in the menu description, the two massive Wagyu meatballs were no match for the phenomenally savory and herbaceous mushroom sage sauce served beneath—I would have ordered it as a soup by itself if they sold it. Other starters like the bone marrow and ceviche exemplify Char’s surf-and-turf focus and also are built to feed a crowd. Most of the food on Char’s menu can be shared quite easily. Portion sizes here are so generous we made two more full meals out of our leftovers, which left us feeling that our dinner splurge was worth the price.